As well as proudly wearing the green shirt of her country Sarah McFadden (33) dons many hats. Having to juggle roles as a wife, mother and teacher in a further education college sounds like enough of a challenge. Add international footballer into the mix and you begin to wonder how she can possibly manage it all.
She couldn't do it on her own and 75 Northern Ireland caps over a 17-year period doesn't come without its sacrifices. Time away from husband Damian, who she married in 2016, and three-year-old daughter Harper is the main one, but that is also Sarah's main source of encouragement.
Lifting the lid on her home life in the north-east of England, Sarah revealed: "Damian literally does everything for me.
"He does absolutely everything with Harper too. He looks after her, he takes her to nursery every morning because I am away on to work and if I didn't have him there is no way at all I could keep playing.
"As soon as I had Harper he was the one who was telling me to get going. I really wanted to get back playing, but he was the main reason. He said he would look after Harper and that I was too young to stop. It's a bit soppy, but he does do absolutely everything.
"I come home from training and my dinner is waiting for me and he'll have Harper in bed and the same the next morning, she's ready and off to nursery. I am very lucky to have him."
Sarah has come a long way since persuading her dad Charles to buy her first pair of football boots in Foyleside Shopping Centre.
"I can actually remember being in the shop whenever my little brother wanted to get a pair of football boots and I was like, 'Can I have a pair?' I remember my dad being, 'What do you need a pair for?' but he bought me them anyway."
That was just the first of many moments in Sarah's life that directed her on the path to where she is now. After leaving her home town of Bellaghy for university in America in her late teens Sarah then headed to Iceland, playing professionally while also having various jobs on the side. She recalls painting kerbs for the council, digging trenches in the rain with former international team mate Kimberley Turner and filleting fish alongside close friend and long-time Northern Ireland colleague Rachel Furness.
"Rachel Furness, Northern Ireland's leading goalscorer, working in a fish factory," Sarah recalled with a smile.
Without that fish factory job the moment that would ultimately transform Sarah's life as a 23-year-old may never have come about.
"Our goalkeeper took appendicitis and Rachel recommended the goalkeeper at Sunderland who wasn't playing over the summer," said Sarah.
"She is one of my best friends now, Helen Alderson. Her dad was the chairman of Sunderland and after the first couple of games she asked if I wanted to play in England.
"She called whoever she needed to, offered me a masters at Northumbria University and she pretty much sorted my life for me, getting me a free masters and getting me to play for Sunderland. She always says that she is the reason for everything that has ever happened in my life.
"It's weird how it all happened and it was just because I had that contact with Helen and she knew the right people for me.
"I've been so lucky. If that girl hadn't got appendicitis Helen would never have come and I don't think I would have ever gone to England."
Almost 11 years on full-time football has given way to a full-time job teaching BTEC Sport at Newcastle College and playing part-time for Durham.
That change came, at least partly, from good coming out of bad after a horrendous cruciate ligament injury.
"That was when I thought I might as well start life now. I wasn't that old, I was 25 and I had already been going out with Damian for a few years and we actually had time to do things that I never had the chance to do because of football," said Sarah.
"He ended up asking me to marry him and that's when football started to take a little bit of a back seat, but I still always loved it."
For the next six days, however, football is the focus of everything she does.
The Women's Euro 2022 play-off against Ukraine is the biggest game in the team's history.
It might also be another one of those moments that changes the course of Sarah's life.
"It's going to be a massive ask, but we are going to have to do it. We just have to," she said.
"We have two games and for myself, Julie Nelson, Ashley Hutton, Marissa Callaghan and Rachel Furness will never get this opportunity again."
'It's tough and you try not to take work home with you, but sometimes you do'
Like everyone else 2020 is a year that Nadene Caldwell will never forget. Her reasons are just a little different to most. And they are contrasting in nature too.
As a key worker within the NHS Nadene has felt the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic. Football has, in one way, offered her an escape from the demands of working in Belfast City Hospital. Mainly, however, playing for Glentoran Women and Northern Ireland has been everything she could have dreamed of in recent months.
Amidst the mayhem of being at the coal face during a global health crisis the 30-year-old reignited her international career after a six-year hiatus and her timing was perfect, playing a part in four successive wins that has propelled the team into the Women's Euro 2022 qualifying play-offs.
Winning the domestic league with the Glens in December, a week after the play-off place was secured, just made the end of what was, at times, a turbulent year even better.
"It's tough and you try not to take work home with you, but sometimes you do. We're human after all," said Nadene.
"I think I would have struggled more if I wasn't able to go to football outside of work.
"When it first came out about Covid we were all in a bit of a panic. When we knew a bit more about it and things were able to get up and running again football was definitely a big release for me. I would have really struggled without it.
"We were able to do Zooms and able to interact and I think the training side of it and keeping busy, keeping my mind busy and keeping active through it all, that helped me massively.
"Looking back now it was a bit of a crazy time, but I have a good family and good support around me and I was able to get through it ok.
"I work in support services. They have been great with me with football and I would have to thank them for working with me and allowing me to progress my international career."
Nadene admits that football has dictated both career and life choices over the years. Completing a university degree remains on hold, probably until her boots are hung up.
"My mindset is that I won't be playing football forever, but I can go and study whenever. That's where I am at at the minute," she said. "I don't have long left so football is the priority and anything else I can do when I stop playing."
Two particularly big decisions, one which initially came out of disappointment, impacted on Nadene's Northern Ireland career and had things worked out differently on the back of that she may have stayed on the other side of the world and never returned.
"I'd been looking into a scholarship in America when I was around 18 or 19, but it didn't come about," the Belfast woman revealed. "It seemed to be what everyone was doing at the time.
"The way it worked I was only eligible for two years and I decided if I wasn't going to get the full four years it wasn't for me.
"I wanted to see a bit of the world and my friend and team-mate Demi Vance was already out in Australia a few months before me.
"It wasn't really for football although we did play. It was just for the life experience and to see a bit of the world and if things had gone differently I probably wouldn't have come home.
"The lifestyle was unbelievable, but I do believe you are where you're supposed to be and if I hadn't come home I wouldn't be in the Northern Ireland set up now. I wouldn't have been on the radar. I think everything happens for a reason.
"It was all about life experience and being there with my partner Craig, it was a good experience and a good journey. If we didn't have good family on both sides we probably wouldn't have come home."
Nadene has a personality that is perfectly suited to her roles in football and in her work - a tenacious midfielder on the pitch and never failing to wear a smile off it.
"I just see it as my job. I probably just take it in my stride, it's not really any pressure, it's just my job and I try to do it to the best of my ability and if I can make people laugh through that even better," she said.
"I try to engage with patients. I always think if it was my family how would I like them to be treated and that's the way I treat every patient.
"You don't know if they've got good news or bad news, so you try to engage and try to make it as normal as possible for them."
If Northern Ireland can beat Ukraine and qualify for the Women's Euro 2022 finals Nadene and her team mates will have made a lot more people smile.
The ladies are one of the game changing women inspiring a whole new generation of girls to take up the sport as support through campaigns such as Electric Ireland's Game Changers, shine a light on the women's game