You managed to secure a First Class Honours degree in Economics, whilst performing on both the domestic and international football stage, how did you do it?
Looking back on it, it was really tough. It was an awful lot of hard work and I did it thanks to the support of a great group of friends along with help and understanding from the University. I really could not have done it all without that close support network. I was juggling my studies, a part-time job and my football, it was crazy! I remember doing my coursework on the team bus on the way back from a match and going to and from training sessions in between ‘living’ in the Hartley Library. The University was so supportive and I really benefited from all the sports facilities here too, it was a great set-up for me to use around my studies.
With a blossoming career in football why did you feel the need to take on such a tough degree too?
Football is a very short-lived career on the pitch so you have to think about what you want to do when it finishes. I still want to be involved in the sport but in a different way and by doing an economics degree it has helped me with that plan. I am really interested in the business side of sport; the sponsorship side that sort of thing. Doing an economics degree has given me a good platform into that field. I also like to be challenged not only physically but mentally too, and the degree certainly did that.
What was it that drew you to Southampton particularly, and how would you sum up your time here?
I just loved it when I came to visit. My initial reason for wanting to come here was that it was a great university with a fantastic reputation. Being a Russell Group university was also a big draw as that looks great on a CV and sets you apart. My time here I would sum up in one word and that is ‘challenging’, in a good way though! At times it really was tough trying to do everything as well as I could but if it wasn’t for the support of friends, family and the University, I wouldn’t have managed it.
You achieved your first international cap for Nigeria, and last season won a number of accolades as top scorer and players’ player in League 2. Now you have made the move to Brighton and Hove Albion over the summer, how have you settled in?
It was a really exciting move for me. I love being in new places. My teammates are great and I have been made to feel very welcome. I am enjoying my football and love the club. Brighton too is fantastic and I feel at home here already. I was so pleased to have scored the winning goal in our first match of the season, it capped off a great start to my time here at Brighton.
What is it like to be part of the women’s game at a time when it is really taking off?
It’s really exciting to be a part of the women’s game, especially at a time like this. It’s a great to know there are sustainable career prospects for the future which will only continue to grow. The game has come a long way. It wasn’t too long ago that there were no full-time players in the game. However, from next season, as part of the new criteria, all players for teams in the top tier must be full time. Which is fantastic.
You have had a busy summer with your graduation, and you are now beginning a new chapter. What was it like celebrating with your family?
It was a great day, having my family around me to be here to witness it and celebrating my achievements, it was really amazing. I think it is from my parents and family that I get that work ethic. My siblings and I all have it. We know that hard work pays off and that is what I tried to do throughout University and with my football.
You certainly made the most of your time at Southampton, what would you say to our students who are just beginning their journey here?
Just to make the most of it. You put in what you get out so take all the opportunities you can and make your University experience as full as possible. It is over too soon, so make it count.
If you have a story you would like to share with your alumni community, please get in touch with Rachael Tyler, Engagement and Campaign Manager, at R.E.Tyler@southampton.ac.uk