A national football team with a difference that trains in a Pembrokeshire town has won plaudits for its performances both on and off the pitch in an international tournament.

Wales Women’s Street Soccer team, which trains in Haverfordwest, recently took on the best of Europe in an invitational tournament in Dublin, to mark 20 years of the Irish Homeless Soccer League.

(Image: Street Football Wales)

Pembrokeshire player, Milford Haven's Claire Mantripp played a pivotal role in the tournament both on the pitch and in goal.

“Street football reflects my own footballing philosophy," said Claire.

"It’s for everyone. We all enjoyed it and I couldn’t have hoped for a better group of girls to go away with.

"To get picked and play for your country, it’s phenomenal.”

(Image: Street Football Wales)

Wales took on teams from Ireland, Spain, Poland, Scotland and eventual champions Romania and World Cup semi-finalists - across two days of competition.

The team was only recently formed by the social exclusion charity Street Football Wales, who use football as a tool to bring people together from disparate and often challenging backgrounds.

Caitlin Thomas, football development officer explained: “Many of our players have had to overcome serious challenges before a whistle is even blown.

"It could be beating addiction, a life changing illness, mental health challenges or homelessness, but once they pull on that famous red shirt and they are stood shoulder with their teammates, they give absolutely everything they have to win the game.”

Unusually for a national team, the team’s base is in Haverfordwest where players have been training weekly, getting up to speed with the fast pace of the game under the leadership of former Arsenal and Wales International goalkeeper Jo Price.

(Image: Street Football Wales)

Each half game is only seven minutes and the teams are four a side with rolling subs.

The pace of the game is often relentless with goals coming thick and fast.

Wales finished the competition, beating Scotland to secure a fifth-place spot in this squad’s debut tournament.

“I’ve been so proud of the girls because they have worked their socks off each week, rain or shine,” said coach Jo Price.

“They have taken the lessons I’ve distilled in them at training and applied them in the game. Game after game you could see us moving the ball quicker, becoming more tactically aware and even overcoming the loss of crucial players to injury.”

The final victory over Scotland showed the players' resilience, going 1-0 down in the first half and then 2-1 down in the second.

"Before pulling an equalizer back and scoring the winner with only seconds to spare to make it 4-3 to Wales.

Wales player Claire Mantripp, who coaches Milford United Ladies, made her mark in the match.

She scored Wales’s first goal and then, due to injury to the goalkeeper, played the rest of the tournament in goal.

She was extremely positive about her experience.

“I’ve coached a women’s team for five years at Milford United,” she said.

“I came to street football to get extra fitness training originally, but then I loved it.

“Then the coach encouraged me to try out for the national team. I thought I was too old, but I ended up playing every minute of every game. I was running on adrenaline."

Next for Street Football Wales is a tournament for South Wales based players on July 1st.

Housing or support agencies wanting to enter a team or businesses looking to support the tournament though potential sponsorship opportunities should contact jamie@streetfootballwales.com