Introducing our final ‘Rising Star’ of 2023 – Abi Harrison. Abi is heading to Shaw University in North Carolina next summer!
The 17 from Yoevil currently plays for Exeter Reserves in the National Reserve League. She has been working hard to secure her A-Levels before starting her next chapter in America.
The vibe I got from their head coach Randy Mcclure and some of the players was really good. Randy has been great and he put me in touch with some of my future team-mates. I had a few conversations with them and I got all the information I needed to make my decision.
I signed my commitment letter last week and I’m going to be flying over there next summer (2024) once I have finished my A-Levels.
I’m really looking forward to it, the whole set up looks really professional and I’m just excited to be training everyday in first class facilities.
How and why did you consider going to America in the first place?
It’s always been an option. It was something my parents looked into and I think it will be a nice change of scenery. Ultimately the passion around women’s football over there is exciting and it presents more opportunities for players.
The amount of football I am going to be playing excites me.
Why did you choose Soccer Assist to help you get there?
I heard about Soccer Assist when I was playing in the JPL Warriors league. So I went to one of their trial days in London and thought it was really well run. I felt like I got a good opportunity to showcase my talent and I was really happy when they got in touch to tell me that they thought I was good enough to get a scholarship.
Since then they have been helping me with all the paperwork and they identified a good number of Universities to look into and put me and my family in contact with the right people.
Of course it then helped that they put together video footage of me playing to send to coaches and ultimately secure me a deal.
What will you miss most about the UK?
Probably my friends. But I am excited to make new friends. I’m sure all the girls out there will be easy to get on with as we all have the same interests and goals.
What is your ultimate goal in football?
To become a professional footballer. I think going to America for four years will help me achieve that goal – training everyday will only make me a better player.
Tell us a bit about your playing style and what you will bring to the Shaw Bears?
I’m a winger who likes to play direct and attack defenders. I’d say I base my style on Chloe Kelly. She’s an inspiration, she’s direct too and so hard for defenders to deal with.
I love her footwork and her delivery into the box is class. I really admire how she has come back from injuries too.
Can you tell us an obstacle or challenge you have faced on your journey to get to where you are today?
I struggled to find a team in Yoevil when I was younger. I think there were only two teams in the region in my age group.
I went to a Summer Camp at a local recreational ground and met some other girls who played for a team not too far away so I ended up joining them. From there more opportunities presented themselves and I ended up getting into the Yoevil Town Academy.
I think the demand for women’s or girls football has always been there, it’s just now we are seeing more opportunities and accessibility to it.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get to where you are today?
When I was in year 11 I was playing for Bridgwater United and I had to travel up to London every other weekend for games because of the league. It was a long journey and took up the whole day, so I have to say a big thanks to my parents for that.
How do you manage your time between education, football and a social life?
Ultimately school does come first. I get what needs to be done at school then look to balance my social life and football after that.
Revision timetables are very helpful. Making ‘To Do’ lists every day is a great way to get things done, then I can enjoy the rest of my time to myself.
I like to train by myself for about an hour everyday, then I have football training once a week with matchdays taking place every Sunday.
You’ve trained today in Miss Kick’s new Training Wear – Do you feel there needs to be a difference between men’s and women’s training wear?
Other than sizing I didn’t really think there needed to be a big difference. It was annoying playing in boys kit or kit that was too big, because it gets in your way and you spend your time adjusting it throughout a game.
When I tried on the Miss Kick training wear I did see and feel how much better it fit. There is no worries or thoughts out on the pitch and it’s just generally comfortable.
The Hoodies are really comfortable too and good quality. When clothes look good, you feel better.
Lastly, who’s going to win the World Cup?
England, we’ve got this!
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Miss Kick believe everyone deserves an equal chance to perform to their best, on and off the pitch. That’s why they donate 2.5% of every order to their charity, Miss Kick Foundation, who create free opportunities for girls to get involved in the game. They also co-ordinate a Community Programme which enables girls to make friends with others like them who share a passion for football across the world.