A SCOTTISH university student has a chance to kick-start her career in professional football when she participates in a reality TV show aiming to find new talent in the women’s game.
Hayley Kern, 22, was one of the 31 women around the world chosen to take part in the show aimed at advancing and showcasing the careers of promising female footballers.
Hayley who studies Graphic Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, a part of the University of Dundee, is taking part in the six-part competition show – Ultimate Goal.
Originally from Oregon, USA, Haley moved to Dundee to study joined the University’s Women’s Football Club. And, since living in Scotland has played for Forfar Farmington and signed for Dundee United Women’s Team.
The most high-profile development in her career to date will see her battle it out for a chance to perform against top class opposition in front of dozens of scouts from all over the world.
In August, the central midfielder travelled down to St George’s Park, home of England’s national teams, to meet her competition and work with top coaches and sports scientists at the Ultimate Goal female football academy.
“I honestly didn’t expect to get in,” said Haley. “The application link was sent to me by our University team captain and everything was quite last minute, but I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had to take it.
“It was an amazing experience. When I first got there I was surprised that everyone was so nice and easy to get along with. Normally with women’s football it’s the complete opposite, especially when you’re in that competitive setting – in the end only 14 outfield players were going on to play in the final game. They were a great bunch of girls. I felt super lucky.”
The show will be hosted by former Chelsea, Juventus and Lionesses player Eniola Aluko, who leads the team along with former England national team goalkeeper Rachel Brown Finnis.
Twins Rosie and Millie Kmita, former players for West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, feature as coaches, with other surprise guests providing guidance and mentorship.
The series forms part of BT’s commitment, as part of its long-term partnerships with each of the four UK Home Nations Football Associations, to inspire a new generation of girls and women to get involved in football.
Hayley said: “Along with the four main coaches we had other high-profile names come and train us. All I can say about that just now is tune in, you’ll be surprised by the people that we met!”
“Back in the States I was part of the Portland Thornes Academy. My team were the first women’s academy team to be established in the United States. Ultimate Goal reminded me of that experience because we also inspired a new generation of women to get involved and be a part of it. I think that’s really important.
“My ultimate goal is to play at the top level. I’m hoping that being on the show will be my gateway into that world. I would like to be a professional player, but I’m at University at the moment so we’ll see. I work really hard and I’m hoping that it will eventually pay off.”
Football fans can follow Haley’s journey when the series premieres on BT Sport later this year. Viewers will find out if she is part of the final squad chosen to prepare for a trial match against an unnamed top side.