IT’S SERIOUS NOW FOR THE WALES No. 1
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.”