University of East London footballer Rinsola Babajide helps England qualify for European under-19 Championship
PUBLISHED: 18:30 13 April 2017
The 18-year-old, who is studying for a degree in Sports Coaching at UEL, played every minute of England’s three games in Turkey
University of East London (UEL) student Rinsola Babajide is hoping to showcase her football skills at this summer’s UEFA European Women’s under-19 Championships in Northern Ireland after helping England qualify for the tournament with a 100 per cent record.
The 18-year-old winger played every minute of England’s three games at a week-long qualifying tournament in Turkey as she and her team-mates swept aside their opposition.
After beating the host country 3-0 in their opening match, they followed it up with a 2-0 win against Denmark before demolishing Czech Republic 7-0 in the final fixture.
Rinsola, who plays her club football with Watford Ladies FC, was delighted with how the tournament went for her personally and the team.
“It was an amazing experience playing in Turkey and also qualifying for the Euro finals without conceding,” she said. “It was brilliant to get those three back-to-back wins to top the group.”
Although being part of the qualification process will stand her in good stead ahead of the Championships, Rinsola is not counting her chickens on selection.
“I’m just going to keep working hard and hope for the best in terms of selection for the Euro finals,” she said.
If Rinsola’s selection is confirmed, she will be following in the footsteps of Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs, who were part of the England team that won the European under-19s tournament in 2009 and are now members of the senior England squad.
“I want to become a professional athlete in the Women’s Super League 1 and also play in the first team for my country as well,” she said.
Rinsola began playing football at primary school at the age of six before honing her skills at the Afewee Football Academy in Brixton, south London, which once also had Liverpool and England defender Nathaniel Clyne on its books.
Rinsola, who signed for Watford Ladies in February having previously played for Millwall Lionesses, is studying for a degree in Sports Coaching at UEL and is supported by the University’s acclaimed sports scholarship programme.
Her talents have helped UEL complete a league and cup double and remain unbeaten all season.
She said, “I get access to the gym and a strength and conditional programme that was given to me as an international athlete and which is helping me out on the pitch.”