Littlehampton-born beach soccer star Sarah Kempson has been nominated for the best women’s player award.
Kempson, 26, a PE teacher at Durrington High School, will fight it out with two other players in order to scoop the top prize at the inaugural Beach Soccer Worldwide awards to be held in Dubai on Saturday.
The current Lewes ladies’ star has received her nomination along with Dutch talent Grytsje van den Berg and Brazilian youngster Leticia Villar.
Kempson has enjoyed her best year on a personal level since taking up beach soccer back in 2014.
She helped Portsmouth ladies’ beach soccer team finish runners-up in the Euro Winners Cup, while also playing a huge part in England’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup win.
After learning of the nomination, Kempson admitted it came as a shock and said: “Perry Northeast (England women’s beach soccer head coach) called me to let me know I’d received a nomination. Head of England beach soccer David Jones then called me to congratulate me.
“It came as a real surprise if I’m honest but something I am very proud of. Any one of the team that won the Euro Beach Soccer Cup earlier in the year could have been nominated, so I’m really proud I’ve been chosen.”
A whirlwind weekend will see Kempson fly out to Dubai on Friday, go to the awards the following day and catch a flight back to the UK less than 48 hours after arriving.
The former Portsmouth and Millwall player, who turns 27 on Monday, believes it will be the perfect birthday present – whether she wins or not.
Kempson added: “It’s going to be a bit of a crazy weekend. I’ve never been to Dubai before, so that’ll be a great experience for me.
“The visit is going to be a flying one as I arrive on Friday and leave two days later. Work have been brilliant in allowing me to take Friday off but I’ll be back in on Monday!”
Beach soccer does not currently host a world competition but that is something, if introduced one day, Kempson would love to participate in.
Should the sport also become an Olympic event in the future, Kempson would like to represent GB as well.
She said: “Beach Soccer Worldwide do not currently run a world competition but hopefully it’ll be introduced in the future.
“Beach soccer isn’t so big here in England but across Europe and in South America it is massive.
“When I first got into the sport I could never have imagined being nominated for an award like this one.
“Being part of such a good English and Portsmouth team has helped a great deal as well.”
Kempson knows how tough it will be to win the best women’s player award, having played against Dutch star van den Berg at the Euro event earlier in the summer.
She added: “I’ve not played against the Brazilian (Leticia Villar) but I did against the Dutch player (van den Berg) earlier in the year.
“Competition is high but hopefully I’ll be able to take the top prize. It’s been a great year of beach soccer for me and winning this award would be a great way to end it.”