FOOTBALL fanatic Lauren Tate is living her dream of playing the sport in America.

Lauren, 18, has been playing football since she was six and started with Hambro Colts in Rayleigh.

She has just won a scholarship to train in the US while doing a teaching degree at the University of West Alabama in Livingstone.

Lauren flew the 13 hours to West Alabama in August and is studying 16 hours a week and training two hours a day in her beloved sport.

Her mum Michelle Tate, 45, said: “She’s doing something she wants to do and is really enjoying it. It’s hard work but she loves it - football is her life.”

Lauren, of Lancaster Road, Rayleigh showed a flair for the sport early on and convinced her school The Fitzwimarc School in Rayleigh to set up a girls’ football team.

She went on to play at South Essex College where she did a BTEC National Diploma in Sport & Exercise Science before playing for East Thurrock United Ladies FC.