Angharad James could make her 100th cap for Wales this camp. Pic: Getty Images.

Angharad James Set To Join The Wales One Hundred Club . . . Thanks To Old Head, Mike Davies

By Harry Corish

Angharad James is set to reach her 100th this camp as Wales face two crucial games against Greece and Slovenia to qualify for a World Cup Play-Off.

With a record crowd due at the Cardiff City Stadium, James could receive the perfect ovation for a terrific achievement, but she has insisted that she won’t be able to think about personal achievements until she has helped Wales edge closer to the World Cup.

James will become the youngest Welsh player to reach the milestone if makes an appearance in both games.

The 28-year-old has become a staple of the Welsh midfield over the years, often an unsung hero doing the hard work and allowing the forward players to flourish.

To reach 100 caps for your country is always a special honour, and for James it is no different.

The pride and hard work she has put into the jersey over the years, in tough periods and during good times, is an incredible testament to herself and those that have helped her along her journey.

“To be honest, until now I haven’t thought too much about it,” said James.

“I’ve had my family begging for hundreds of tickets, but that’s the only thing I’ve had time to think about. It’s going to be a very proud moment for me and my family.

“Something I have tried to think about is the people who have helped me get to this point. My teachers at Ysgol Preseli were so important in my journey. My coaches from a younger age and players from when I first came into the camp.

“My old headteacher Mike Davies is a big football fan and does a lot of stuff for Sgorio. When I was in school, I had to take a lot of time off school because of football.

“I had to travel to Swansea and Cardiff; the opportunities down west are much better now than what they were.

“He never gave me any trouble, he’d encourage me to take an extra day here and there, he was so helpful and so supportive.

“I like to make sure I don’t forget all the help that I’ve had, and I’m really looking forward to these games; to have record crowds at Cardiff City Stadium will be incredible. The support will really help to push us over the line.”

James is part of the now formidable midfield three, alongside Jess Fishlock and captain Sophie Ingle, who have also reached 100 caps for their country. The three are the heartbeat of this fantastic Welsh side and are carrying fans’ hopes of getting the country to the World Cup in 2023.

“The bond between me, Jess and Sophie has grown stronger recently. Through COVID we had to sit on the same tables and whether unfortunately or fortunately we ended up on the same table,” said James.

“We just take the mick out of Jess all the time. I don’t think she is used to it; I doubt she gets it much in America, everyone is just starstruck by her so we just make good use of it here.

“We take that relationship out on the field too; we are just so relaxed and comfortable with each other. We just have to look at each other, we don’t have to say too much, and we know what all of us are thinking.

“We are really good friends and that close bond definitely helps us out on the field. I love the two of them to bits.”

At the age of 28, James has already enjoyed a fantastic career to date, playing on both sides of the pond, in the Women’s Super League and in the National Women’s Soccer League.

But James didn’t always have it easy. Earlier in her career, women’s football wasn’t at the level it is now and she had to overcome boundaries and perform at the highest level before she was able to get the success that she deserved.

“It is important to chase your dream and it was always a dream of mine to play professional football,” explained James.

“When I was growing up, I only saw the men doing it, so I didn’t realise I could do it too. But you see the game growing, the Euros, the World Cups, its huge.

“I stepped out of my comfort zone; I moved up to London at 15. I didn’t know how to cook, how to clean, my mum did everything for me. To pack up one day and move, was very difficult.

“I remember ringing my dad up, asking for him to pick me up because I wanted to come home, he said just stick it out for a few weeks and see how it went, and I never looked back!

“Unfortunately, it meant I had to leave Wales, but I followed my dream and I’ve been living it ever since.”

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