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The University of Southampton

Goals in sight for Southampton’s international football graduate

Published: 28 July 2017
Footballing graduate kicking a ball
Economics graduate Ini Umotong will play football full-time this season in Brighton

The University of Southampton’s graduating class of 2017 featured one graduate who has her future goals firmly in sight.

Ini-Abasi Umotong achieved First Class Honours in Economics after splitting her time between the classroom and the football pitch. As a student, Ini scored over 50 goals whilst playing for Portsmouth FC, earning her first international cap for Nigeria. Last season, as a member of Oxford United, Ini won the Golden Boot in FA Women’s Premier League 2 as top scorer and was named the league’s Players’ Player of the season. For the coming season, she’ll be playing for Brighton and Hove Albion.

Ini called her graduation ‘amazing’ and said, “It’s a massive accomplishment for me – I’m so happy that my family can be here to witness it. It’s a great day.”

The 23-year old added that she found juggling her football and academic activities presented a ‘massive challenge’ but she’s come through the experience with flying colours. “It was hard but I just had to learn how to make best use of my time and any free time that I had. With my course, there was always work I could be doing, so had to make sure my time was used most efficiently. Although it was challenging it was still very enjoyable and I wouldn't change the anything about the experience.” she recalled. “I had great support from Southampton and my family so it was definitely achievable.”

Born in Calabar, Nigeria, Ini moved with her family to Birmingham in the UK as a one-year old. Her football talent began to emerge early and by the age of five, she was scouted by Birmingham City’s Center of Excellence.

Her first international cap came in 2015 in an All-Africa Games qualifying match versus Mali. Later that year she was a member of the Nigerian national squad playing at the Women’s World Cup in Canada.

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