Beth Mead: Sunderland Ladies Future England Star

Sunderland Ladies’ 20 year-old striker Beth Mead has certainly caught the eye of late. The top scorer in last season’s Women’s Super League One, has won various awards, an England call up and a stream of other accolades, which have made this young sensation the one to watch this coming season and beyond.

Born in the seaside town of Whitby, North Yorkshire. She began her career at California Girls FC, Middlesbrough, before moving onto Middlesbrough’s Centre of Excellence. She spent six years there before moving onto her current club Sunderland at just 16 years old.

Mead’s Sunderland Ladies career started with a bang, scoring 29 goals in all competitions during her first season. She bettered this in her second season scoring 30 goals. The following season produced less goals, 15, but it helped the Lady Black Cats to promotion to the Women’s Super League One (WSL1), winning the title on the last day of the season.

Her first season in the Women’s top flight could not have started any better. Beth scored the opening goal as Sunderland beat reigning champions Liverpool in their own back yard. Things got better for a period, with a hat-trick against then league leaders Chelsea during a run of victories which saw Sunderland top the table. The Lady Black Cats eventually finished fourth, but it had been successful season for the team and for Beth in their first season in the WSL1.

Mead’s form was rewarded at the end of the season when she was selected for the senior England squad for the first time for their friendly tournament in China. Although she failed to make an appearance, the experience will hold her in good stead for the future.

Last December saw her year end well, as at the North East Football Writers’ Awards, Mead picked up the Women’s Footballer of the Year award. This was followed by Young Player of the Year and Women’s Super League Players Player of the Year awards at the WSL Awards ceremony at Wembley. Speaking at the awards Beth had this to say: “For your peers who youve played against all season to think that you were the best in the league is great, especially considering the amount of quality players in the league. It was an incredible season for myself and the club.”

Beth has started brightly this season scoring two goals in three games. In total, she has scored a staggering 79 goals in just 81 appearances since joining Sunderland. She has also netted 10 times in 25 appearances for England’s Under 15, 17, 19, 20 and Under 23 sides. One of these goals was a goal of the season contender. Playing for the England Under 20 side against Mexico she nutmegged her opponent before unleashing a right foot effort into the far corner.

Surprisingly to many, Mead was not selected for the recent England squad for their recent Euro 2017 qualifier against Belgium. Speaking about Mead and others who missed out, England manager Mark Sampson said this prior to the game, “The 23 weve got have probably stuck their hand up a little bit higher.” The question now is, What more does Beth have to do for Sampson to notice that her hand is just as high, if not higher, than others? Simple; keep doing what you’re doing and further rewards will come.

With her lightening pace, quick feet and prolific scoring record, she is a defender’s nightmare, and after last season’s exploits, every team in the league will be very wary of both her and Sunderland. Keep an eye on this young striker, if she can keep developing and working hard, it’s only a matter of time before this Sunderland star is also a star on the International stage.

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