A DEVASTATED West Lothian teen has spoken of her disappointment at seeing her hopes of representing her club in a national tournament dashed because she is a girl.
Just a week after leading Fauldhouse Foxes to Scottish Youth Cup glory as skipper, and winning the player of the match award, 13-year-old Alyshia Walker has been banned from running out for the side in a home nations showpiece at Birmingham City’s stadium because English FA rules prohibit mixed teams.
It has left the Bathgate Academy pupil crushed but she insists she remains hopeful for a last-minute reprieve to allow her the chance to run out with her team-mates.
She said: “It’s so disappointing. I’m very upset and I only found out last Friday.
“We’ve got a great team but this is a big blow and especially as I’m captain. They should really change the rules and I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to play.
“We are trying to generate as much support as possible from all over and I’m hopeful they change the rules and let me play.
“But if they don’t I’ll definitely go down to the finals and support the team.”
Sharp-shooting Walker has netted more than 60-goals for the Foxes this season in a little more than 20-games and she has earned national caps for Scotland at under-15 level but her side will have to do without her.
Scotland allows girls to play mixed football until age 15 and while England are considering a rule change it looks like it will come too late for Alyshia.
Her mum Christine found out the news from Foxes club secretary Ina Meek leaving her furious as she broke the news to Alyshia.
Meek insisted it was grossly unfair.
She said: “It’s a kids’ game of football, not a professional tournament.
“It’s a shame. It is also a huge blow to our chances of lifting the trophy.”
David Little, secretary of the Scottish Youth Football Association, backed Alyshia saying: “Personally I’m absolutely gutted by the whole thing. We are 100 per cent behind Alyshia and the club.”
The news comes on the back of Walker leading the Foxes to under-13 Scottish Cup and Tesco Cup glory at Airdrie’s New Broomfield.
The prestigious trophy was always going to end up in West Lothian hands when the Foxes and fellow county side Syngenta Juveniles reached the final but on the day the Foxes were in irresistible form to coast to a 3-0 win to take the silverware.
Aiden McKee netted a double, either side of an own-goal from an unfortunate Syngenta stopper but despite bagging a brace it wasn’t enough for the striker to take the man of the match award.
That instead went to Walker who skippered the side to glory.
It proved to be an excellent match with both sides showcasing the emerging talent in both camps.
Fauldhouse edged in front on the half-hour mark when a long-throw from Michael Shields caused chaos in the Syngenta rearguard and McKee lashed home from 16 yards.
After the break the Foxes continued to turn the screw on their opponents with their excellent attacking moves but they missed a couple of chances to vive Syngenta some hope.
But their hopes were dashed when the Foxes went 2-0 in front and slapped one hand on the trophy following an own-goal when a Shields long throw was turned into his own net by a Syngenta defender.
Shields’ throw-ins were proving to be Syngenta’s achilles heel and another huge hurl from the Foxes man created the third goal when McKee again pounced on a pass from Walker to slam home and secure the Scottish Cup.
Fauldhouse Foxes: Aiden McCann, Jamie White, Alyshia Walker, Gordon Meek, Patrick Duffy, Callum Kirkland, Ryan Wood, Ryan Welsh, Shaun O’Donnell, Graham Burt, Michael Shields, Steven Potter, Bradley Stokes, Aiden McKee.
Syngenta Juveniles: Alex McMahon, Michael Ross,. James Harvey, Steven Gold, Andrew Campbell, Cameron Scott, Marc Simkin, Sam Collumbine, Blair Phillips, David McKay, Scott Munro, Liam Dillon, Adam Law, Jordan MacKinnon, John Sommerville, Aidan Rush.