A young girl from the borough, who is passionate about football, is the star of a new television ad campaign.
Grace Montgomery (11) from Ballyclare features in the new Electric Ireland Game Changers advert.
Having fallen in love with football at a young age, Grace has continued to play the sport and has proven she is quite the expert at putting a ball at the back of the net.
As lead sponsor of Women’s Grassroots Football across Northern Ireland and official sponsor of the UEFA Women’s Under 19 Championship 2017, Electric Ireland wants to be a game changing force for how women’s football is perceived in Northern Ireland.
Electric Ireland’s Game Changers campaign aims to break down the perceptions that exist around women’s football and celebrates the game changers within women’s football in the region.
Grace, who plays for Crusaders Diamonds, a girls’ football team that her dad coaches said: “My first experience of football was when my dad brought me to First Kicks at Valley Leisure Centre. I enjoyed it and I was good at it. Then he took me to Crusaders and I just kept playing.
“My dad was a centre forward and always put the ball in the back of the net. He can beat me at keepy uppies,” she joked, “but I think it would be tight between us.”
Encouraging other young people to get involved in the game, she added: “Keep going with the sport and don’t give up. Go to every training session you can go to and if you can’t go then make up for it in your spare time.
“I like being with my friends when playing football. It’s good craic trying to win together. You’ve worked hard to get to that point so it does feel good to win.
“When we lose a game we’re annoyed for 15 minutes then we laugh about it together. Then, when we win, we will remember that win until our next game.”
Even at such a young age, Grace has already stored up some great memories from playing football. Memories she will inevitably keep hold of as she continues to play the game.
“My most memorable moment was playing in a boy’s tournament and I scored two absolute belters. I ended up winning Player of the Tournament because of one of the goals I scored.”
Although football is known to be predominately played by men, Grace is changing the tone of conversation surrounding the sport and is showing that when being a game changer, age is no barrier.
As for any future plans, Grace is keen to play at international level.
“I want to play internationally and I would like to play for Northern Ireland one day. I want to keep playing. I want to be the best in the world and to someday get the Balon D’Or.”
If anything, Grace is a real game changer in women’s sport and judging by the way she is playing at the moment, a Balon d’Or award – or equivalent - might even be on the cards!