“She helped so many young people. I was always really shy because I thought that if I said something wrong, then I would regret it but I think I should have spoke to her more because now I can’t.”

As soon as Hana Bhatia, 14, saw Maddy Cusack play the Sheffield United midfielder became her favourite player. Her passion on the pitch was mirrored in the generosity she gave to younger players. 

Hana, who plays for Hallam Rangers Junior FC, recalled: “Anyone who came across Maddy could just tell that she was a really nice person, on the pitch and off the pitch. She treated me more like a friend than a fan.”

Rachel Iball, Hana’s mother, said: “Hana’s dream was to play with Maddy on the pitch so to be able to talk to her and have a relationship was really meaningful. She was a really good role model.

Maddy gave so much time to her supporters. Every time Hana plays football now, she writes MC 8 on her hand and when she scores, she points up and says that was for Maddy.”

Hana and her mother, Rachel at the first Sheffield United women’s championship game after Maddy’s passing (credit: Rachel Iball)

Hana isn’t the only young player or fan who has been impacted by the much loved player. The Maddy Cusack Foundation has been sharing stories using #markedbymaddy and highlighting her impact. 

It’s evident Maddy has inspired so many young players to want to go on to have a career just like her. However, it can be a hard path to follow. 

Ms Iball explained the cost of playing football can make it difficult. She said: “I’m a single mother ferrying Hana around. I love that she’s a footballer but the costs can add up.”

With the lack of local teams girls have to travel miles to play matches. When they do get to play it’s often with less facilities than boys teams.

It’s these and many other barriers that The Maddy Cusack Foundation, created by Maddy’s family in October, seeks to address. Their hope is to continue Maddy’s inspirational legacy.