YOU might be tempted to call the region’s latest star striker the new Ian Rush – if she weren’t a teenage girl.
Like Rush, Hannah Keryakoplis hails from Flintshire and is a prolific goalscorer for Liverpool and Wales.
And now the 16-year-old is showing the potential to make an explosive impact in the ladies’ game.
Hannah, of Penyffordd, has helped her country progress to the next stages of the UEFA Women’s Championships at both under-17s and under-19s level after netting 13 times in just six qualifying games for the two teams.
This included hat-tricks for the under-17s in Russia against Greece, where she has strong family links, and the Faroe Islands.
Hannah has averaged a goal a game for Liverpool Ladies reserves and has already made her first-team debut.
And the prospect of a professional career looks set to grow with the birth of a new FA Women’s Super League next spring.
Hannah said: “I hope the Super League can help improve the status of the women’s game here.
“A lot of girls go to America on scholarships but I want to stay here, particularly with the Super League starting up.
“In my football career I want to be as successful as possible, establishing myself with the senior teams with Liverpool and Wales.
“I was very pleased with how the qualifying games went. It was nice to get three goals against Greece, the country my great-grandfather came from.”
As a youngster Hannah played with boys for Penyffordd Juniors, a team run by her dad, John.
She then spent time with Tranmere Rovers before moving to Liverpool three seasons ago. Said John: “I’d always had an inkling she was very special.
“She has proven that by breaking records and I’m very proud of what she’s done.
“I can remember when she was about two years old and seeing how good she was for that age at kicking a ball. It was instinctive. The skill she has is
Hannah’s family has a strong footballing pedigree.
Her great-grandfather, Tommy Gardner, won two caps for England in the 1930s and played for clubs including Liverpool, Aston Villa and Wrexham either side of the Second World War. Her grandfather, Keith Gardner, was also a professional.
Hannah, who has just left Castell Alun High School in Hope, is working towards her level two coaching badge, which would enable her to coach at primary schools
throughout the region.
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