Balallan teenager Rachael Johnstone has her eye firmly on one goal – and she’s not about to let anyone put the ball into it.
14-year-old Rachael is heading to Poland next week (Monday September 17th), after being selected to join the Scotland women’s U-16 national football team. She’ll be one of two goalkeepers and is almost certain to get playing time, as well as her first national caps.
The S4 pupil at Sir E Scott School has been chosen as part of the squad for two friendly matches between Scotland and Poland u-16s, on September 19th and 21st. It’s a tremendous accolade for a young player, especially one who lives so far from Scotland’s national training facilities.
Rachael trains with Lewis and Harris women’s football club, under coach Euan ‘Moley’ Macleod, and with Stornoway Athletic’s under-15 development team, coached by Jenna Macleod.
Her dedication to training has already paid off with a coveted place at a national training development event this summer, and now she’s to travel as part of the 20-strong squad heading to Poznan on Monday.
Rachael said: “I am nervous and excited, but I will be able to concentrate on playing despite that. If I do well that will take me further towards my goal, which is to play for Scotland women’s team.”
Setting out from Lewis on Sunday (September 16th), Rachael will stay overnight in Edinburgh before joining the rest of the squad at the national sports performance centre, Oriam, on Monday. From Edinburgh the team, physios and coaches will fly to Poznan.
The first game kicks off at 4pm on Wednesday (19th September) at Swiebodzin in the west of Poland. The team then have a rest day before the second leg match, a short distance to the south-east at Babimost, at 11am on Friday 21st.
Rachael’s trip means she’ll miss a week of school at Sir E Scott, but she has the whole school behind her. They were the first to post: “The school is delighted to share in the fantastic news that Rachael Johnstone, S4 has been selected for the U-16 Scotland Women's Football Squad.
"Congratulations Rachael from the school and the Harris community!”
Picture shows – Rachael keeping her training up at home in Balallan.