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Newmarket Town forward Annabel Cuthbert hoping to take her game to the next level in the USA

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Playing football in America has long been a dream for Annabel Cuthbert – one that she is now excitedly preparing to fulfil.

The 18-year-old found the net with impressive regularity throughout her time in youth football with Cambridge City and Isleham before going on to transfer that clinical touch to the senior game at Newmarket Town Women.

In fact, the prolific forward has found the net on 279 occasions from just 128 appearances, with seven of those goals coming in the Women’s FA Cup.

Annabel Cuthbert
Annabel Cuthbert

What’s more, Cuthbert was also the leading goalscorer in each of the last two Covid-19 curtailed Eastern Region Women’s League campaigns with returns of 22 and 14.

Unsurprisingly, with numbers like that, the colleges on the other side of The Atlantic started to stand up and take notice, but such is the way of the world right now the former Bottisham Village College pupil has not been able to fly over to the States to assess her options.

Nevertheless, after several Zoom meetings and FaceTime calls, she has accepted a scholarship with Faulkner University in Alabama, where she will spend four years studying exercise sciences alongside further honing her skills out on the pitch.

Annabel Cuthbert. Picture: Gary Reed
Annabel Cuthbert. Picture: Gary Reed

“Ever since I started playing for a boys’ team at the age of six, playing in America is always something I have thought about,” said Cuthbert, who has been sponsored during her time at Newmarket by legendary jockey Frankie Dettori.

“I’ve always lived for football from such a young age. I had trials when I was younger with the likes of Arsenal and West Ham, but I never managed to make the final cut.

“Women’s football in America is ahead of where it is here so hopefully I can improve my game while I’m out there.

“I’m planning on becoming a PE teacher once I’ve done my studying, but it would be great to see how far my football takes me out there. I’m really exited and can’t wait to get started.”

Annabel Cuthbert
Annabel Cuthbert

While Cuthbert cannot wait to make the move – likely in late July – it will still be a wrench to leave her Newmarket team-mates behind.

She added: “It’s going to be really hard to leave the team and the players behind.

“I’ve loved playing with the girls and team have helped me to improve as a player.

“We are a really close group on and off the pitch and I will miss all of them.”

Meanwhile, one of Cuthbert's previous managers at Newmarket – Shane Lebbon – added: "Annabel has always been a fantastic player. Whenever she plays or trains, you can see her natural ability and if she gets in front of goal you just know the ball is going to hit the back of the net.

"I managed sides against her in youth football and you always knew life was going to be hard.

"America is an excellent opportunity for Annabel and she fully deserves it. Hopefully she'll be able to take her game to the next level."

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