Manchester City starlet Lauren Hemp admitted leaving the family behind in Norfolk was her biggest sacrifice to try and launch the promising striker on the path to the top of the game.
The teenage ace is rated one of the brightest prospects in the country, after sealing a move to the Sky Blues this summer following a breakthrough season at Bristol City Women.
The former North Walsham High School pupil started her career at Norwich City Ladies, but had to move on to follow her football dream.
“There have been some hard choices and sacrifices,” she said. “The biggest was probably moving home when I was 16. I moved from Norwich to Bristol. That was a major thing. There was no clubs in and around Norfolk at the level I needed to pursue the next stage of my football career.
“To take the step to Bristol and then to Manchester City now shows it was the right call.
“A week before I still didn’t believe I was moving away. I used to get homesick when I was away on camps but for me to be away from my family for two years was hard to begin with but you become independent and it has helped me mature as a player and become more confident in myself.
“My family have been the biggest influences in my career. They supported me and helped to start, with getting me to training and matches here, there and everywhere. My sister used to play as well and she was a big influence. I started playing when I was about nine for my local boys team. My manager realised I could go far and pushed me to join Norwich.”
Hemp’s meteoric rise saw her crowned the PFA female young-player-of-the-year at a glittering ceremony in London, where she shared top billing with the likes of Fran Kirby and Mo Salah.
But the 17-year-old knows she has set the bar high – and that means no distractions.
“I am at college at the moment so when…