Summa Betts has become a Nottingham Forest success story as she shares her time both playing and in education with the club.
The 17-year-old is a graduate of the club’s Regional Talent Club (RTC) as she currently dons the Garibaldi in the side’s reserve team. Betts is also currently working towards a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport with Nottingham Forest Community Trust, which she states will open doors for her to study for a degree at University.
Betts studies at The City Ground during the week as she is striving to achieve her qualification, which is the equivalent to three A-Levels, and she talks about how she is finding her time doing it.
She said: “I’m loving it, it’s all connected with football and we do a lot of training there as well so it helps keep me fit.”
“If football doesn’t work out I want to be a PE teacher and this can help that.”
“It’s all about teaching and first aid which is what I need to be a PE teacher so this can open doors at University for me.”
Studying at the club was always a no brainer for Betts, because along with supporting the men’s side she has spent the last three years moving up the age ranks herself.
After moving from her local side, West Bridgford Colts, Betts joined Forest’s RTC at the age of 14. Whilst playing for The Reds under-14 side Betts trialled for England under-16s, a whole two years above her age group, and even though a place in the side failed to materialise she began to show signs of the player she could become. Betts then joined the under-16s team before eventually moving on up to senior football during the summer where she joined the reserve team.
Playing only her first game in senior football, Betts reflects back on her first three months with the team.
“It’s been a really big step up from RTC to now reserve team football,” Betts explained.
“Coming into the reserve team is a whole new world. You’re having to play against and with strong and experienced players.
“But it just improves you as a player and it’s a great experience going across the country playing against different type of teams.”
Betts and the rest of the side have enjoyed an unbeaten start to their season, having picked up seven wins out of their first 10 fixtures and she explains how there is a ‘positive feeling’ around the side.
Betts said: “It’s been an amazing start to the season.”
“It’s obviously not all about winning but to be able to join a team that has started the season unbeaten is great.”
“There is such a positive feeling within the team and it gives me a confidence boost moving forward.”
The Forest first team and both reserve and development sides have won over the hearts of the city and have reaped the rewards of the support from both the club and the fans. And Betts talks about how great it is to receive that level of support and act as role models for the next generation.
She said: “The support at Forest throughout the whole club is great.”
“From the club, down to the support from the fans. The first team get lots of support and so do we at the reserves.”
“It’s great to have young fans looking up to us.”
“I’ve supported Forest my whole life so playing for the club and wearing the badge means a lot to me.”
After only a few months in the senior set-up Betts already has her eyes set on one day playing for the club’s first-team.
Betts said her aspirations are: “I’d love to see myself in the first-team eventually.”
“I’m still young myself so hopefully after I get a couple more seasons of experience under my belt and get stronger I’ll get my chance.”