Despite being aged just 13, Amelia Courtenay-Barrow has been included in the England Girls’ Under-17 squad for their Rink Hockey European Cup campaign later this month, writes Liam Apicella.
The call-up, which is Courtenay-Barrow’s first at international level, caps a rapid rise over the last 12 months for the Ely & Chesterton Rink Hockey Club youngster.
Already in 2016 the Newmarket Academy student has turned out for her club at Under-17 level, as well as representing the Eastern Counties Region Under-15 side.
But now she is heading for the Italian town of Breganze, where Courtenay-Barrow will be the youngest of the 10 players picked to represent England between December 15-18.
Courtenay-Barrow’s father Roger, who also coaches his daughter at club level, is particularly proud of her achievements.
“I love coaching but when you get deep into it, you stop watching things as a parent and you see it more from the point of view of a coach,” he said.
“You inevitably miss out on things because of that, but it will be great in Italy because I will watch solely as a parent.
“What she has done this year and now the England call-up is fantastic, not just for Amelia but also for the club.
“We are really proud of what she has achieved and hopefully this will give her some fantastic grounding.”
The tournament will provide Freckenham-based Courtenay-Barrow with the chance to pit her talent against some of the brightest rink hockey starlets on the continent.
And while he admits that is likely to be a daunting prospect, her dad believes Courtenay-Barrow will only benefit from the experience.
“She is massively excited, but there is probably a little bit of apprehension as well,” he added.
“She is being taken out of her normal surroundings and that can be a bit scary, but it is also a good thing because it is a brand new experience.
“Playing in an international tournament is a great experience and she deserves it.
“We have seen a marked improvement in her game play in recent months and being around some top youngsters will only help enhance that.”
Upon her return from Italy, Courtenay-Barrow will head for the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in early February to captain an England Youth team at a regional event.
n Ely & Chesterton Rink Hockey Club train at the Ross Peers Sports Centre in Soham. Those interested in joining the club can find out more information by making contact on: https://www.facebook.com/Ely-and-Chesterton-United-Rink-Hockey-Club-209055605813915/