Ardingly College's Sophie's on top football form

Sophie Crooks
Sophie Crooks

Ardingly College student Sophie Crooks is the first girl in the school's history to be selected for the National Under 16 Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) squad.

An academic and music scholar in the Fifth Form (Year 11), Sophie, from Lindfield, near Haywards Heath, is one of the very few girls selected for the national line-up who does not play for a professional academy. Sophie has also battled serious back problems to achieve the level of fitness that enabled her to be selected.

Ardingly College Director of Sport James Clarke said: "Sophie had scoliosis and a back operation at the end of 2014 and wore a back brace for months whilst she recovered. She is also in our 2nd Hockey team and plays high level tennis. Her selection for ISFA is a huge tribute to her grit, determination and, of course, talent. It is also yet another example of Ardingly College supporting all-round sporting excellence alongside academic studies, intellectual and musical achievement."

As well as her other accolades, Sophie holds The Mark Lawrence Scholarship. It was established in 2011 following the untimely death of an Ardingly College father-of-three from Lindfield, Mark Lawrence, who was a scientist and a keen sportsman. The aim was to provide a scholarship at Ardingly College for a child of high academic ability excelling at science who would not otherwise be able to attend without financial assistance.

On hearing about Sophie's ISFA success, Mark Lawrence's widow, Heather Lawrence said: “This is fantastic news. Mark would have been incredibly proud of Sophie’s achievements.”

Sophie was chosen for the ISFA squad from a group of 80 at the first ever national representative trials day for girls. She will now attend a Development Camp at Cambridge on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th October.

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