North Wales football referee Cheryl Foster has received another major boost to her career with the whistle.
The 39-year-old has been promoted to Uefa’s group of Women Elite referees.
She is now among a special set of just 19 highest-level officials across Europe and one of only two in that list from the UK, the other being Scotland’s Lorraine Watson (Clark).
Llandudno girl Cheryl started training as a referee in 2013 after retiring as a professional footballer aged 32.
After starting her football career at Conwy Devils, she moved to Bangor City and was a huge success in Keith Fearns’ successful side of the turn of the millennium, finishing top-scorer in every season between 1999/00 and 2002/03 and winning the Welsh Cup twice.
She joined Liverpool in 2003 and by 2009-10 was the Reds’ longest serving player.
That season she was the Northern Division top marks-woman with 16 goals as Liverpool romped to the title.
After being released by the Merseyside club in 2012, she had a brief spell at Doncaster Rovers Belles before deciding to retire and take up refereeing.
In December 2015, she was appointed to FIFA’s international list just two years after swapping football kit for referee’s uniform.
She has enjoyed numerous major appointments since then, refereeing the Women’s Welsh Cup Final in 2016, leading the first all-women officials team in a men’s final and being the woman in the middle in several internationals, including the Uefa Euro Under-17s.
Cheryl also regularly referees in the men’s tier 1 Cymru Premier League.
She is just one of three new women Elite referees appointed for 2020-21, alongside Marta Huerta de Aza (ESP) and Tess Olofsson (SWE).