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Former Plymouth Argyle star striker Chloe Roberts is following her dream of eventually becoming a professional soccer player and a full England international.
The Plymouth youngster continues to knock in the goals even though she is thousands of miles away in the United States. The teenager, who took the opportunity to further her career in the autumn in the United States, took little time in getting on the score sheet for her North Alabama University team, who ended their best ever season with a 19-4-1 win, loss and draw record. Three of those defeats came at the hands of number one ranked West Florida. Roberts set a new UNA regular season high of 32 goals, as was her university high 79 points gained in a single season.
It's been a whirlwind of success for the football-mad teenager who decided that the USA was the place to further her football career. The 19-year-old England under-19 international who was a product of the highly successful Activate youth team before joining Argyle, was amazingly selected to the 2009 first-team All-Gulf South Conference as well as being voted GSC Freshman of the Year and GSC Player of the Year. Not bad for a girl in her Freshman (first year). Familiar in her swept back hair under an elastic head band and proudly wearing her number nine shirt, Roberts has terrorised her American opponents as she did playing for Plymouth Argyle when knocking in over 50 goals in her last full season in England - which included a game high eight goals.
It was easy to see why English Head Soccer Coach Graham Winkworth recruited the England under-19 striker as it took Roberts until the second game to show the Americans she meant business when netting a hat-trick in the 8-0 victory over Limestone College, with four goals coming against Georgia Southwestern. It is also no coincidence that the arrival of Roberts helped lead the UNA to its most successful season in its history, second place in the Gulf South Conference, first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and first NCAA Tournament victory.
Chloe, who turned 19 in October, has found little difficulty settling in to the college system although rising at 4am for four mile runs was a definite shock to the system! She has joined a team sprinkled with British players and was joined by Nikki Brown, formerly of Chelsea and another freshman from Bognor Regis who ended the season with 16 assists and was also selected with Roberts to the Daktronics NCAA Division II All-South Region Team. Julie Osmond - another freshman from Southampton and formerly of Reading FC Women - was voted to the All-South Region Second Team along with Chloe's strike partner, senior Brazilian Tassia Augusto who between them scored 61 goals this season.
Chloe had one unexpected surprise when parents Carol and Clive turned up at the team hotel in Florida before UNA took on number one ranked university West Florida. Mum Carol said: "She couldn't believe it when I tapped her on the shoulder at a team meal, she was so glad to see us. We are always in contact with Chloe and she absolutely loves it there, she knows she made the right decision, she is following her dream and we are delighted for her. We thought it would be a nice surprise for her to see her parents."
Chloe is due home for Christmas where she will catch up with many of her old Plymouth Argyle team mates, with whom she is regularly in touch via the internet. A remarkable start to her four-year stay at the university and surely many more records to be broken along the way for the unassuming Plymouth teenager who is determined to achieve her dream. (by David Potham)
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