She was once banned from playing with the boys but Gosport’s Rebecca Barron was never going to let anything get in the way of her football dream.
And as she prepares to represent Team GB in the inaugural World Beach Games in Doha, Barron always knew her perseverance would pay off, writes Ella Jerman.
Representing your country at a multi-sports event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most athletes, including Barron, who has put her grass football at Portsmouth Women on hold to try and secure success for Team GB in Doha.
‘At 30 years old, I never expected to be called up for Team GB,’ said Barron.
‘I’m quite late on in my footballing career so it’s made me feel very proud.
‘When it comes to our goals in Doha, I’d hope all the hard work we’ve been putting in during training pays off.
‘We’d love to be able to go home with a gold medal, but we’ll see what happens.’
Team GB will compete across seven disciplines in Doha, as 97 countries from five continents come together for the Association of National Olympic Committees’ (ANOC) first-ever World Beach Games, taking place from October 12-16.
Alongside beach soccer, Team GB will be represented in aquathlon, bouldering, kitefoil racing, skateboarding, water ski and wakeboard and for most of the Team GB athletes selected, it will be their first opportunity to compete at a multi-sport Games.
Barron, who has always played grass football, admitted it took a long time for beach soccer to enter her radar but she hopes in the future, young girls and boys will have plenty more exposure to the sport.
‘I used to watch the team train to begin with but a few years later I decided to give it a try, and I’m still going now,’ added Barron.
‘At the beginning it was really hard and I didn’t feel like carrying on, but five or six sessions in, something just changed and I completely fell in love with it.
‘It’s a shame there isn’t much sand in England to bring the sport to attention, but to play on this level is a huge stepping stone for beach soccer.
‘Hopefully we can become more recognised and then we can build onwards.’
GB start against Paraguay on Friday before facing the USA on Sunday and Russia 24 hours later to complete their group.
Follow the team @TeamGB on social media and at TeamGB.com