Ireland WU19: Brady's unique journey to the Ireland team

Kelly Brady.jpg

Ireland WU19: Brady's unique journey to the Ireland team

Kelly Brady's route to international football is not typical for most Irish strikers.
7th Apr 2019

The youngest player in Dave Connell's Republic of Ireland Women's Under-19 squad, Brady scored twice in the 4-0 win over Serbia on Saturday afternoon in the UEFA Women's European Under-19 Championship Elite Round, in Spain.

The daughter of a Monaghan-born father, and an American mother, Brady lives just north of New York City in Rockland County, but has always grown up in an household with proud Irish roots. The striker only made her international debut in January in Italy, where she made two substitute appearances against the hosts.

Brady has yet to make a start for Connell's side, but has impressed off the bench in the Elite Round games against Hungary and Serbia. Her two goals on Saturday were her first at international level.

The 17-year-old plays in America with World Class FC, and plans to go to college in Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) in Autumn 2020. Ireland teammate Tiegan Ruddy goes to college there, and the coach of the women's team is Mick D'Arcy. A conversation between D'Arcy and Connell, led Brady to play for Ireland.

"When I committed to CCSU, Mick told me it could be a good opportunity for me to play with Tiegan and the Irish team. He contacted Dave and it led me to here.

"It was a great expererience to play in Italy. I was shocked to get an opportunity like that and went out there to try and make an impact."

Coming off the bench against Serbia to score twice, is something that Brady said will live with her for a long time.

"It was amazing. Dave said before the game, that if I got on I had to make an impact. Being able to score for my country for the first time, and being able to make an impact on the game was brilliant."

Still eligible for two more years at the Under-19 level, Brady knows she has a chance to play in numerous UEFA Women's European Under-19 Championships, but that is not a position many of her teammates are in. A win against Spain on Tuesday, will send the team to the Finals in Scotland in July. She's eager to get there.

"It would be brilliant to qualify. A lot of the girls wont have the opportunity again. We're all desperate to get there. Some of the younger players can get that experience too, going into next season as well."

"It's going to be an exciting game. We have a point to prove against Spain and they dont think it will be a difficult game. We're going to prove them wrong."

Brady's career in green has only begun. From America, to Italy and onto Spain. She hopes the next stop is a trip to Scotland in July.