Monica shooting for the Stars after a taste of the big time

Monica White is enjoying a spot of star gazing as she continues her climb up the netball ladder.

Monica in action
Monica in action

The 17-year-old from Bridgnorth has been training with the Severn Stars first team squad and has sampled a brief taste of life at the top of the game after making the bench for a couple of friendly encounters.

Stars are members of the Vitality Super League that is regularly featured on Sky Sports and White, who plays goalkeeper or goal defence, is making impressive progress in her bid to join the professional ranks.

The former Worfield Primary School and Bridgnorth Endowed School pupil started out on her netball journey with Tibberton before being spotted by a PE teacher from Wrekin School.

Her on-court skills then secured her a sports scholarship at Wrekin where she was noticed by the Stars, who split their games and training between Gloucester and Worcester universities.

After a successful trial she joined Stars' under-15 set-up and has since progressed through the under-17s and into the under-19s sides, and also represented Shropshire, before joining the senior set up for a spell of training.

"It's quite a big set up at Severn Stars and the main team is the Vitality Super League team that you see on Sky Sports," said proud father James.

"She got selected some time ago for the under-15 squad and she has gradually worked her way up and has recently been on the bench for a couple of the senior sides' recently friendlies.

"To be honest it's a bit early and partly to do with the fact they have had a few people out with Covid. But she has still earned the right to sit on the bench and she was really chuffed to be called up.

"Just to be training with the main team is a like a whole different world. It's fantastic

"I used to play football and in football terms if you go from training with Manchester United under-19s to the first team, that's sort of the equivalent.

"It's like 'wow', all these people you have seen on the TV you are suddenly training with."

Netball has grown in popularity in recent years and with the formation of the Super League it now offers a potential career path but while she is keen to kick on Monica also has dreams of combining her sporting skills with working abroad.

"She is quite open minded about her future," added James.

"She has some good natural ability and if she were able to get into the professional netball, that would be the dream. But I think she is realistic enough to realise that is tough.

"She has got a couple of other things she is keen on. She likes helping people and charity stuff.

"She wants to go to university and do a degree in international development and help developing countries, hopefully with some teaching or sports development qualifications.

"I think she would like to spend some time in Australia and play some netball over there because it's a bigger sport over there than it is in the UK at the moment.

"At some stage in the next few years, pandemic permitting, she will travel somewhere and continue her sport in one form or another.

"To be fair I think even the professionals tend to have some other career. The sport is not at a level where you can earn a career from it unless you are right at the top echelons and playing for the England team.

"That will probably change in the next five to 10 years with the amount of money and investment going in. It is catching up other sports."

And while Monica will be firmly focussed on the netball season, as a keen cricketer who has recently passed her Level 1 ECB coaching badge, will also be padding up alongside her dad for Bridgnorth Cricket Club.

"Monica has always been very sport," added James, who moved to Shropshire from Kent with his wife Marie and other daughters Claudia, 15, and Emelia, 13, 11 years ago. "She was a member of Bridgnorth Athletics Club up until it folded and she also plays cricket for Bridgnorth.

"That's nice for me because I have always played cricket and we play for Bridgnorth together on a Sunday."

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