Teenage talent Emily Bentley is back playing football in the town where she first made her mark in the Welsh Premier Women’s League as a 16-year-old.
Now 18, right-winger Emily has joined CPD Y Rhyl 1879 Women (formerly Rhyl Ladies) after a two-year spell developing her skills at Burnley FC.
It was during the 2018-19 season that this former Ysgol Glan Clwyd pupil first shone in a Rhyl shirt.
Having previously been with Prestatyn and Rhyl Hearts, Emily was promoted to senior standard and stood out in a 5-0 WPWL victory for the Lilywhites over Caernarfon Town.
While Ashleigh Mills took the headlines that day with a hat-trick, Emily adapted to adult football like a duck to water, her pace, ability on the ball and endless engine giving the Canaries a torrid time.
Watching in the stands that afternoon, I certainly marked E Bentley down as ‘one to watch’.
At the same time as playing for Rhyl, Emily was also gaining vital experience at the Wrexham AFC /RCF Girls Centre of Excellence.
It was no surprise that a few months later, Emily was offered a football scholarship at Burnley FC.
She embarked on a two-year training programme as part of Burnley’s elite academy where she combined study for a BTEC Sport Level 3 Extended Diploma with practical football experience.
The youngster later became a key player at the Ladies, Girls and Wildcats centre based at Burnley Belvedere.
Football-mad Emily has not restricted her good work to just playing.
At Glan Clwyd, she was awarded a ‘director of football’, getting involved in an initiative entitled ‘Play More Football’ designed by the Welsh FA and Football Trust to maximise the participation of children and young people in football across Wales.
She has also been a part of the Welsh FA North Wales Performance Centre of Excellence.
Now she has an opportunity to flourish in the tier 3 North Wales Women’s League, which kicks off next month.
Emily joins a host of eye-catching summer signings at Belle Vue, which include Rachael Nattrass, Candice Nellist and Becca Bannister, while experienced striker Laura Williams will also return to playing.