CPDM Bethel have received a massive boost ahead of the new season with the multi-talented Mari Gibbard a confirmed signing.
The 24-year-old attacking player has represented the village club in pre-season friendlies but before now had not committed for the 2021-22 campaign.
This is because she planned to return to America to continue her studies.
But as the USA still has travel restrictions on the UK, she would not have been able to fly back before at least January.
So Mari’s aim is now to find employment locally and in the meantime continue her football in North Wales.
Mari hails from a football family, with dad Aled a well-known juniors manager and elder sister Gwenno the captain of CPD Merched Bethel.
A glittering career as a junior for Mari included winning the Welsh Schools Cup with Ysgol Brynrefail, where she netted a hat-trick in an 11-1 win in the final.
She went on to star for the Bangor University side which won the BUCS League in 2015-16.
After a couple of seasons representing Bethel in the North Wales League, Mari signed for Welsh Premier club Llandudno in February 2018.
She was soon making an impact, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over coastal rivals Rhyl.
Mari had a very impressive 2018-19 season with Tudno, finishing top scorer with 15 goals in all competitions, including six in a Welsh Cup tie.
Two of her goals at Cardiff City were particularly special – a 45-yard screamer and a magnificent chip on the run over the advancing keeper.
In recent times Mari has been studying in America, where she has also taken the opportunity to develop her playing and coaching skills.
She rejoined Bethel at the back end of 2019-20, but games were scarce due to coronavirus.
Now the skilful operator with a penchant for scoring remarkable goals is back in maroon – and that is fantastic news for Ben Bolton’s side.
Bethel will compete in the elite eight-team Tier 2 North this season.