Easton College footballer Bridie Hipperson is South Carolina-bound

Hellesdon football prot�g� Bridie Hipperson has been handed the chance of a lifetime – to take a bite out of the United States women’s football pie.

The talented 17-year-old Easton College pupil has been signed up for a four year scholarship at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina, after coaches took a liking to Hipperson’s potential during a showcase in York at the end of last year.

In fact the former Hellesdon High School pupil may yet have a second offer on the table as she waits on a decision from Thomas University, in Georgia.

But the hard work is done, with Hipperson set to complete an additional year of her football diploma at Easton before jetting off in 2012 to make a home in a country where women’s football is taken seriously.

“When I found out, I couldn’t talk; I felt sick just thinking about it,” said Hipperson. “I’m just so excited, I can’t wait to go.

“Women’s football is really big out there and they are crying out for English women to play. The coaches had 45 emails from different universities saying they need English players and this is an opportunity you have to take. It’s not going to come around again. It’s once in a lifetime.”

The women’s professional game is arguably as popular as the men’s leagues in the USA, where Hipperson will learn a range of subjects at the same time as playing football and training – no doubt matching the current six hours a week, plus strength and conditioning sessions, she currently completes at Easton.

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Hipperson started playing football when she was seven with twin brother Jordan and the boys at Hellesdon Youth – but had to wait until she joined Norwich City’s Under-16 girls before playing a competitive match.

A right-footed attacking midfielder, she also joined the books of City Ladies’ reserves before Christmas.

“It’s crazy going out to America and massive stadiums,” she added. “There are professional teams out there and some of the England women’s squad play there too, so I’d like to head for that, even if it meant staying in America.”

Hipperson’s scholarship offer – with her annual costs capped at �2,500 – is the best Easton College has ever had according to football lecturer Lee Perry.

“She is the best student in my group, she is really committed, works hard and she has got a clear focus on where she wants to go,” said Perry.

“She is not our only success story and we have had a few leave here and go on to play professionally in the US, and the US really is a great place for a female football player to be.”

This year saw Easton College take on its first eight girls on its post-high school football diplomas, compared to 90 boys studying from September, while the college is planning a tour to the US in 2012.

• For details of Easton College’s football programme, call 01603 731200.