A CARDIGAN football starlet has earned selection for an international women's college series out in Italy next week.

Kelsey Thomas, a 19-year-old midfielder with Swansea City, will be a member of the Wales Women Colleges squad to face Italy, Canada and Lithuania in group stages between February 25 and March 4.

It is a major step towards the Coleg Ceredigion sports student’s ultimate dream of winning a full Wales international cap – even if that would almost certainly mean relocating to England.

“I think most players should have ambitions to play at very top,” Kelsey, who started playing at the age of eight with Cardigan Town’s boys’ teams, told the Tivyside.

“I do believe I am at the highest level with the Swans within the Welsh Premier, but going forward I think the English Women’s Premier League must be the target or certainly the highest possible level within the English league structure.”

Kelsey, whose favoured position is midfield, is a lifelong Swans fan whose pathway to the club was via Swansea City community football camps.

Having passed a Swansea Girls Development Centre trial she went on to play for all age groups from 12-16, before making her debut for City’s first team in 2020/21 when she was part of their Welsh Premier and Welsh Cup-winning squad.

“Having made the difficult decision to leave I then joined Aberystwyth, but always had one eye on returning to Swansea, and did so this season,” she said.

“My dad Clive – who spent eight years with Swansea City Academy and had brief coaching spells with Carmarthen Town and Aberystwyth – has been a big influence, not only in my development but also driving me all over UK to play.

“It's not easy living in Cardigan as it involves plenty of travel, but we manage it!

“The competition to get into the 20-player college squad was really tough as there are now so many good players within the female game – I can't wait to work with former Wales assistant women’s manager Claire O’ Sullivan and Sean Regan.

“Anytime you pull on that red shirt of Wales is something special and I am so looking forward to getting on the plane, enjoying the experience in Italy and hopefully getting some good results.”

Yet with a full Welsh cap the long-time goal, Kelsey acknowledges that a future move to England would be essential for her to fulfil her ambition.

“If you look at the full Welsh senior squad there no players from the Welsh League – they all play in the English stream,” she said.

“So, yes, I’d probably have to move as travelling from Cardigan will be impossible as most English clubs train three days a week with one or possibly two games on top of that as well.”