A FOOTBALLER who started her playing career with Ross Town Ladies as a teenager is preparing for a “dream come true” trip to Malaysia after being selected for the England Deaf Women’s World Cup squad.
Natasha Hamm now plays in goal for Ellwood FC in the Gloucestershire County Women’s League.
The 33-year-old has previously won international caps for England and Great Britain as a defender, and is also a former best goalkeeper in the South West.
Natasha, who lives with husband Tony in Newland, said she was “so excited” to be selected for the World Cup squad.
Her football career started as a 14-year-old with Ross Town Ladies, but was interrupted for a few years by injury.
The England Deaf Women’s management team invited her to be part of the national set-up.
And she said: “I’m working hard on my fitness and I want to achieve.”
Natasha works as a cleaner at the Suntory factory in Coleford in the mornings and at the Forest of Dean District Council offices in the evening.
She also has a fitness routine at home to help build her stamina.
“I have two jobs and I do a lot of walking around,” she said.
“I come home and do another 40 minutes on my overall fitness.”
The squad has regular training sessions at Derby County’s stadium where they are able to replicate the heat and humidity of Malaysia.
Natasha said: “I’m really looking forward to going to Malaysia.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Natasha is also a talented pool player and has played for the Hereford Bulls although that has taken a back seat as she concentrates on her football.
She is also hoping to be selected for the England soccer squad to go to the Deaf Olympics.
Husband Tony added: “We’re also really grateful to everyone at Ellwood FC, they’ve been really supportive.”
Natasha has an ear implant to give her some hearing, having lost her hearing aged three when a balloon was burst near her.
Other members of the squad also have implants or lip read while officials use red and white flags to signal whether the ball is in play or the game has stopped.