NOT once did she allow the bullies to stop her achieving her goals. Because of this, a Barry girl is not only on the cusp of her dream of playing for the Wales national football team, but she’s been nominated for a prestigious national award.

Achieving your dreams is hard, but for Soffia Kelly it was that bit harder, being ostracized at school for her love of football and then, when she was on the brink of making it in the national football team set-up, her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

Soffia, from Barry, was teased, called names and not invited to parties because of her love of football, but this did not deter her from her passion.

She started football aged five at grassroots level within the boys’ game at her twin brother’s team,

“She has had to overcome some real challenges to get to where she is” said mum Soraya. “You know how cruel kids can be.”

“It used to break my heart seeing her playing on her own in the garden with no friends.”

The isolation didn’t stop Soffia though. She continued to develop until she was invited to trial for the girls’ Wales South performance centre in 2017, aged 10. She was accepted, however the next obstacle fell in Soffia’s path when her mum was diagnosed with cancer, which meant she couldn't commit to training.

This didn’t entirely stop Soffia in her tracks. She did something unique, and, started making educational videos along with her brother on the early detection of cancer.

“They were absolutely fantastic,” said Soraya. “Once they knew they dealt with it very well.”

Soffia also didn’t give up on her dream of one day playing for her beloved Dragons. She re-joined boys’ grassroots football teams to continue her passion and that commitment paid off.

In March 2021, Soffia was once again invited to trials and secured her place in the new Elite Football Welsh Academy South regional squad, which is the player pathway to the Wales Women's National Team, and she’s also in the running for potential scholarships in America.

Not only that, Soffia has been nominated for the Principality Child of Wales Awards.

The Awards recognise the incredible achievements of amazing children and young people from across Wales.

Barry And District News:

(Goalkeeper Soffia is on standby for teh Wales U19s team)

Barry And District News:

(Soffia with mum Soraya, Dad Nick, Nan Pat, middle brother Harrison and her twin Solaman)

Mum Soraya is “doing great” despite her diagnosis and says she is so proud of her daughter.

“She is a role model,” said Soraya. “She has had to overcome some real barriers to get to where she is.”

And despite having to go through some lonely times growing up, Soffia’s now surrounded by friends – her teammates and football family, who, Soraya says, all go watch Barry FC when they can.

Principality Child of Wales Awards

The Principality Child of Wales Awards are taking place on Friday March 24 at Mercure Holland House Hotel in Cardiff and tickets are now available.

The Awards will recognise the incredible achievements of amazing children and young people from across Wales, whilst raising vital funds for children’s charities Ty Hafan & Hope House Ty Gobaith.

So many Welsh business have confirmed their support including, Principality Building Society, Redkite Solicitors, Trade Centre Wales, Westacres, Bluestone National Park Resorts, Equinox Physiotherapy Partnership Ltd, Thomas Carroll, Gower College Swansea, Princes Gate, GD Harries & Sons, Castell Howell, Swansea City Football Club, Owens Group, Route Media and Forrest Print.

If you’re interested in getting involved by purchasing tickets or becoming a sponsor, please visit or contact Ashleigh Kerr on