The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Matt Bad­cock

LAURA O’SUL­LI­VAN started tak­ing her goal­keep­ing se­ri­ously only a year ago – now she’s won three caps for Wales!

The 24-year-old Cardiff City Ladies stop­per has en­joyed a whirl­wind time since switch­ing from de­fence to be­tween the sticks.

What orig­i­nally started out as tak­ing the gloves to help out has turned into be­com­ing the Blue­birds’ first choice, as well as in­ter­na­tional hon­ours.

O’Sul­li­van started three times for her coun­try in the re­cent Cyprus Cup – and she can hardly be­lieve it.

“I didn’t think I was go­ing to play, to be hon­est,” O’Sul­li­van, who had twice been called into Wales train­ing camps pre­vi­ously, told Women’s Foot­ball Weekly.

“When I was put in the start­ing line-up for the first game, I was like: ‘Are you jok­ing?’ I was ac­tu­ally quite calm about it and tried to take the chance with both hands.

“It’s all hap­pened re­ally quickly. I prop­erly com­mit­ted to be­ing a goal­keeper only about a year ago.

“I’d been a de­fender for quite a while and I was in and out of goal be­cause we strug­gled to find a keeper and no one else wanted to do it. You’re still part of the team and you get to play, which is all I wanted.

“It wasn’t un­til a year last De­cem­ber, when we had tri­als and I didn’t know whether to say de­fender or keeper. I put keeper down and went from there.”

O’Sul­li­van is cer­tainly mak­ing up for lost time af­ter ad­mit­ting her one re­gret is not play­ing more foot­ball when she was younger.

“I started play­ing prop­erly five years ago,” she said. “I’ve only ever played for Cardiff, but be­fore that I didn’t re­ally play for a club. I en­joyed foot­ball be­cause I used to hang about with my brother and I’d join school clubs, but I’d never joined a club.

“It was the trav­el­ling and my mum didn’t re­ally drive. It wasn’t un­til I went to col­lege and I was a bit more in­de­pen­dent.

“I quit for a lit­tle bit be­cause I was one of those re­ally shy peo­ple. But, when I came back, I was asked to go in goal and I’ve stayed there.

“I wouldn’t have ex­pected to be in the Cardiff first team, never mind an in­ter­na­tional.”

Now she’s de­ter­mined to make the most of her new ca­reer path.

“With tech­nol­ogy th­ese days, you get a lot of anal­y­sis,” said O’Sul­li­van, who broke into the Cardiff City first team from the re­serves last sea­son. “In the camps, you get to watch your­self back and you pick up so much.

“It’s the lit­tle things. Peo­ple some­times think be­ing in goal is just stand­ing there and sav­ing balls. But there are a lot of tech­niques you need.You can make the great­est save ever, but the tech­nique could be poor.

“The train­ing I get with the Welsh squad can only ben­e­fit my club as well with the ex­pe­ri­ence and con­fi­dence I re­turn with.”

PIC­TURE: Rob Wilkins

PER­MA­NENT: O’Sul­li­van

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