A young female footballer runs to warm up in the sun in her red and black football kit

Unaizah’s story:

I first began chatting to Unaizah and her family back in early Spring 2018. She was approaching the end of her High School and clearly wanted a challenge. She had an impressive cv and was clearly an all round sportswoman. We had looked at video of her playing in a competitive 11 aside game and so were able to start to think of an FA affiliated girls & women’s football club in the north west where she would be made welcome and get a chance to push herself outside of her comfort zone. In short, she wanted to learn how far she could take her football.

three young students proudly holding up their certificates celebrating the award of Distinction grades

Well, from the moment she arrived in Manchester Unaizah began to she had a winning mentality and the stamina to back it up. We had set up trials with two well-established local girls’ football clubs for Unaizah; one with Bury Girls and Womens’ Football Club and the other with the highly successful Blackburn Rovers Girls & Women’s FC. Unaizah’s homestay family lived very close to Bury FC and so this makes it a very convenient and easy journey to midweek evening training for her. At Bury, Unaizah immediately settled in and felt at home. The club was very welcoming and made Unaizah feel as if she were amongst friends from the beginning. Bury soon applied for international clearance for Unaizah and she quickly began to regularly feature in their weekly u18 fixtures, even playing for the senior squad on occasion. Predictably, Blackburn was a much higher standard of play and much more competitive, but as Unaizah said, she wanted a challenge.

three young footballers smile at camera before they begin the US Soccer Assist scholarship trial day

Realising that the USA has so much to offer capable and academically bright young female players, Unaizah and her family began to consider applying for a US scholarship through IHM’s partners, Soccer Assist. Unaizah attended their trial and we await the results. However, what has made a US scholarship with a good university a realistic prospect is the fact that Unaizah is equally conscientious when it comes to her studies. She was awarded a “Distinction” grade in her BTEC Level 3 Sub Diploma in Sport Performance in January and so is now on target to achieve the same in the higher Diploma qualification.

Watch this space because we all believe Unaizah is destined for great things.