Derby County Football Club Women

Keryakoplis “Tough Travelling but Enjoying Derby Experience”

Ewe Rams’ top scorer Hannah Keryakoplis admits it is tough to play her football far from home, although she has enjoyed her first season with Sam Griffiths’ side.

Keryakoplis has scored 19 goals in just 18 appearances since joining Derby County Football Club Women back in the summer of last year, which left the team in second place before the season was declared null and void.

The time away from football has given the Welsh international time to reflect on her career to date, which took her all the way back to her beginnings in football with Penyffordd Juniors.

Keryakoplis recalls growing up and playing football with Derby midfielder Tom Lawerence with both residing from the same village in Wales.

The Derby forward said: “I played football for the boys in my local welsh village [Penyffordd] for a length of time, and that was when I got scouted.

“I was best friends with him [Lawerence] growing up and we are still good friends now as I see him quite often still. His family still live around the corner from my mum and dad, so we’ve been close for years.”

The performances of Keryakoplis for her local side caught the attention of clubs in England, more specifically Tranmere Rovers which was when travelling long distances to play football started, and it wasn’t long before Hannah was on the move again.

Keryakoplis signed for WSL outfit Liverpool in 2011 and, as she explains: “At the start [of her time at Liverpool] I still wasn’t old enough to drive, so my dad had to take me here, there and everywhere. I passed my test as soon as I turned 17 because I don’t think my dad could wait to be honest!”

Stints at Birmingham City and Stoke City Women followed before she arrived in Derby, and at this point in her career, Keryakoplis has learned to live through the long hours of travelling.

The 26-year-old understands the reality of her situation, saying: “It has become a struggle but if I want to play at the highest level there is nowhere in Wales that can accommodate that.

“It can be difficult on my social life with my partner and our little girl, but you learn to adapt to it and when Sam [Griffiths] approached me I don’t think there was any question of me not moving [to Derby].”

It is evident that Keryakoplis has struggled in the past not being close to her family all the time, yet remains committed to helping the continued progression of Derby County Football Club Women under Sam Griffiths’ tenure-ship.