Unaizah was frustrated trying to improve her football back home in Kenya. She found that once she had finished school at 16 years of age, there was no league system in place and so nowhere for her to progress on to. She knew that the U.S. soccer scholarship system offered great opportunities for young female footballers, but she needed to study further to be eligible to apply for that.
Once we began to talk to Unaizah and her parents we could see what needed to be done and so IHM quickly contacted the Manchester F.A. to ask for some recommendations for girls and women’s football clubs. Very soon we were in contact with Bury Girls & Women’s FC, a great F.A. Charter Standard community club located in the north of the city and they were great right from the start. We were able to place Unaizah at a homestay close to the club, which made it easy for her to get to training every Thursday night and matches on a Saturday. Unaizah found Bury G & W FC a very welcoming and friendly club from the start and so she settled in well in a short space of time. In fact she soon had her international clearance through and was playing for the u18s team in no time at all. Since then her time with Bury has continued to go well and Unaizah has even had the chance to train with the senior squad.
Chris Honor, Bury Girls and Women’s FC, u18s Manager spoke in the most complimentary way about Unaizah when he said:
“Unaizah has become very popular at Bury Boys and Girls Under 18s and is a key member of our squad. It is evident that the additional work and education being given by the staff at IH Manchester is paying dividends and Unaizah’s attitude and determination to succeed is second to none.”
As well as playing regularly for Bury, IHM arranged for Unaizah to train with Blackburn Rovers Ladies, something that stretched her as a player. BRL’s play in the Premier League Northern Division and narrowly missed promotion to the women’s Super League at the end of the 2017-18 season when they were narrowly beaten in the play-off final. Unaizah enjoyed her sessions at Blackburn and enjoyed the challenge of training with players at this level.
Unaizah is now studying hard for her BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport Performance as she is now trialling for US university soccer scholarships with IHM’s partners, “Soccer Assist”. The US soccer scholarship system offers academically capable young players a wonderful opportunity to fund their studies by playing football in the U.S. at excellent facilities and with excellent progression prospects.