A FOOTBALL coach from Kidderminster is helping to mould the next generation of women's footballers in the USA.
Craig Roberts, 43, has risen from youth team player at Kidderminster Harriers to head coach at Indiana-based university Ball State.
He has enjoyed a unprecedented successful during his four years in the mid-west, transforming the fortunes of the team in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Under his guidance the team, called the Cardinals, reached the finals of the MAC for the first time in their history last year and were just edged out by West Michigan.
The former Harry Cheshire High School (now Baxter College) student, who was managed by John Hall at Harriers, also played for Worcester youth and had trials at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Oxford.
His love affair with America began as an 18-year-old coaching for British Soccer Camps before studying at Park University in Kansas, where he captained the Pirates soccer team and received a host of accolades for his performances.
After obtaining a Master's degree in education, Roberts made a name as a highly-rated coach, building his reputation at Virginia Military Institute and University of Tennessee at Martin, becoming the latter's most successful coach in their history and sealing their first ever Ohio Valley Conference title.
With Women's football big news in America, Universities are scouring the world for new talent.
"It's an honour to be paid to be involved in something I love such as football," said Roberts.
"We've had some excellent players come through, Pavla Benyrova is a full international for the Czech Republic, while Lauren Hall is a member of Honduras' under-20 squad.
"We've had a a girl from Bromsgrove, Maimee Morris, playing for us. She had been playing for Birmingham City Ladies and is back there now."
Roberts is also a coach for Haiti Ladies, who are managed by Shek Borkowski.
Haiti are currently trying to qualify for the Women's World Cup in Canada for the first time out get out of the North, Central America and Caribbean qualifying groups.
"They have a chance of qualifying for the Women's World Cup for the first time, which would be a huge achievement for them. It would be a fantastic experience to be involved in the tournament."