Crawley girl, 13, who dreams to play football for England meets World Cup legend

Christ's Hospital and Dr. Martens SUS-140906-162052001
Christ's Hospital and Dr. Martens SUS-140906-162052001

A girl who dreams to play international football met a World Cup legend and got a police escort to European football’s biggest cup final.

Megan Mackey, 13, of Dovedale Crescent, Southgate, met Franz Beckenbauer and attended the Champions League Final in Portugal after she came runner-up in a European sports journalism competition.

Megan said: “It was just amazing getting to see players - Ronaldo and Diego Costa, Gareth Bale - all playing on one pitch.”

Megan was among 16 young sports reporters and more than 400 young footballers represented their countries at the event in Lisbon from May 23 to 25.

It was part of international children’s social project Football For Friendship’s (FFF) campaign to instil good principles in young athletes.

TV crews filmed Megan as she greeted and presented VIPs including Franz Beckenbauer, ambassador for FFF, with a ‘friendship bracelet’.

Megan said it was “amazing” and “unexpected” to meet the German football legend.

Notepad in hand, she attended a press conference with professional sports reporters.

Megan said she and her mother, Diana Bakker, were then escorted by police in a convoy of ten coaches to the cup final.

Megan considered being a sports reporter after her football career ended.

She said: “It’s a very good job I have to say.

“Especially being a sports journalist I would get to see games and do something I love.”

Megan earned her place in the competition after she demonstrated her passion for the sport.

She submitted an article, a question and answer interview with former Crawley Town FC coach Mark Beard and a bibliography of the sites she used.

Megan, who plays for Chelsea FC’s Girls’ Centre of Excellence, said she trained up to six times a week.

She was one of four girls who made it into the under 15s squad. She trialled for her place with some 60 hopefuls on Wednesday.

Megan hoped to play international football for England, Ireland or Holland.

She said: “I was born in England, my dad is Irish and my mum is Dutch.

“Playing internationally for those countries would be an honour.”

Her mother Diana added: “She just wants to be the best at everything, in school as well.”

Megan took up the sport aged nine to meet new friends and for her fitness. She held Manchester United season tickets for three years in a row from 2007 to 2010. She travelled to Rome and Moscow to watch previous Champions League Finals.