A YOUNG Bradfordian is getting the chance to live her dream out in Italy, after being snapped up by Serie A Women’s side Napoli.

Aqsa Mushtaq, who turned 22 this week, is of Pakistani-origin and spent time at hometown club Bradford City Women as a teenager, before going and impressing out in America.

She netted 13 times in 17 games last season for Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina and Napoli decided they liked the look of the goalscoring winger and took the plunge.

Speaking to the T&A, Mushtaq said: “It’s amazing to get this opportunity, especially as I’m only just out of college (university).

“I didn’t score that many goals in my first couple of years out in America but I knew I had to impress in 2019/20 with it being my last season.

“I worked on my goalscoring and having more of an impact in games, but I felt it was always in my locker.

“An agent called and said Napoli liked the video they’d seen of me, and they needed a winger who was a good dribbler. Then the club got in touch to sign me.”

Mushtaq admitted it took her a long time to realise the talent she had, saying: “Not a lot of my immediate family play football but my cousins do, and my brother was always watching it.

“I kind of got into it that way and started to play it in school. From there I never really stopped.

“It was good to get the chance to play for Bradford City, but I had only just turned 16 and to be honest, I didn’t get as much game time as I’d have wanted.

“It was a good experience though, and it showed me how hard I’d have to work and how much work I’d have to do to get to where I wanted to be.

“At 16, I felt like I was playing with these amazing players and I’d struggle to ever get to their level.

“But I’ve just turned 22 and I feel like I am impressing people now.”

It seems like getting the chance to leave England and play out in America gave Mushtaq the career boost that she needed.

Asked why she decided to make the move across the pond, she explained: “I went out to the USA to play football because I wanted to do it at a high, professional level.

“It’s really big in the colleges over there and there was a professional set up at Lenoir-Rhyne.

“We’d have meetings all the time and a proper pre-season. It was a busy lifestyle and I really enjoyed that.

“It also helped me get better at living on my own as well.”

Asked what her message would be to other young women of Pakistani-origin like her, Mushtaq said: “It’s not easy, because it’s not really part of our culture and a lot of people don’t see football as being for girls.

“But I’ve always had the support of my family and if you have that, it doesn’t matter what others think.

“There will always be some who don’t think what I do is right, but you don’t have to listen to them.

“Me being at Napoli shows what you can do when you set your mind to it.”

Napoli kick off their Serie A Women's season today with a game against Bari.