Eniola’s Road To Canada
Eniola Aluko, Chelsea and England forward, has revealed the tough times she faced as a young, female athlete and her determination to inspire young footballers during England’s trip to the World Cup.
“There comes a point where you have to be ok with what you do. As a woman you’ve got to be ok with the fact that you play football and at a younger age, I wasn’t. I wasn’t comfortable with being a footballer, even though I was good.”
Having played internationally for over 10 years and now close to her 100th cap, Aluko is a staple of Mark Sampson’s squad. Add this to the 32 international goals under her belt and a role in the London 2012 Olympics, it’s difficult to imagine Eniola ever lacking confidence in her footballing abilities.
“I played for boys’ teams which was great until it became an issue with opposition coaches. They’d say: ‘Oh you can’t have a girl playing, where are the rules that say girls can play?’ I think that’s why I had issues accepting the fact that I was a good footballer. I used to say I played tennis instead because of Venus and Serena Williams, people thought they were great.”
“As I got older, I also had a few of my own coaches that didn’t believe in me and said I wouldn’t make it. That stuck with me. I use those things now to motivate me and drive me on.”