Malta Football Association
Farrugia eager to make most of Sunderland AFC opportunity
Feb 11, 2019
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Malta international Maria Farrugia (left) holding the Sunderland AFC shirt. Photo: SAFC
Malta international Maria Farrugia (left) holding the Sunderland AFC shirt. Photo: SAFC

  • Malta international Maria Farrugia (left) holding the Sunderland AFC shirt. Photo: SAFC
  • Maria Farrugia (right) in action for Malta.

The announcement that young Maltese talent Maria Farrugia has signed for English club Sunderland AFC Ladies was greeted with enthusiasm by local football followers.

Regarded as one of the country’s brightest prospects, Farrugia, 18, has already made five senior appearances for the Malta women’s team.


Farrugia, who is also one of the first graduates of the National Sports School, made her senior debut for Sunderland AFC Ladies last Sunday in a 2-1 defeat to league leaders Blackburn in the Northern Premier Division.


“Being part of a professional team like Sunderland AFC Ladies is a very nice and positive experience,” Farrugia, from Gozo, told


“My objective is to keep developing and become a better professional football player.


“I’ve worked hard for this opportunity. I would like to thank coaches Melanie Reay and Trevor Atkinson and all the technical staff at SAFC and FOL (Foundation of Light) for giving me the chance to be part of this club.


“I also have great respect for my team-mates who helped me to settle in so quickly.”


Farrugia, who played for Gozo FC before moving to England to join the Sunderland AFC Ladies Academy, has urged young Maltese footballers to persevere as they pursue their dream of playing abroad.


“I believe that if someone is dedicated and prepared to make sacrifices, they will be able to make it at a professional level,” Farrugia said.


“Playing abroad gives you a better picture of the levels and demands of professional football and this helps you to develop and become a better player.


“Living and playing in the UK, where the level of women’s football is high, can only help me improve further as a player.”



Farrugia is one of a number of young foreign-based Maltese players who receive support under the Malta FA Young Players Assistance Scheme.


“The Malta FA has helped me in many ways,” Farrugia said.


“I would like to personally thank (President) Norman Darmanin Demajo, Matthew Paris (Vice-President), Pierre Brincat (Director of Women’s Football) and Mark Gatt (National Women’s Coach) for helping me achieve my dream as well as to represent my country.


“Coaches Frank (Schembri) and Dorianne (Theuma) have also been instrumental. I’m also grateful to the coaches and staff at the National School of Sport who are doing a sterling job in the youth development sector, and all those who have helped me in my career so far, especially Paul Zammit, Melania Bajada, Raymond Attard and Joe Portelli.”



Malta women’s coach Mark Gatt paid tribute to Farrugia’s qualities.


“We have been following Maria’s progress from a very young age,” Gatt said.


“She is so dedicated, showing great commitment in training and leadership skills when playing for our national team.


“We hope that more young talents follow Maria’s example as there are no limits to what you can achieve if you have the talent and determination to succeed when such opportunities come along.”

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