Nigeria International Ini Umotong has her mind set on gaining promotion to the top tier of women’s football in England with her new club Brighton & Hove Albion as the new FA Women’s Super League Two (FA WSL 2) season approaches. To open their campaign, the Seagulls have a trip to Aston Villa on Sunday 24th September.
On the 26th of July, the club announced their acquisition of the goal poacher – who is also a First Class graduate of the University of Southampton – from fellow FA WSL 2 side Oxford United. For her outstanding performance while defending the Yellows last season, Umotong was named FA WSL 2 Players’ Player of the Year and the FA WSL 2 Top Goalscorer at an award ceremony in November.
The 23-year-old is looking to even do better with Brighton & Hove Albion in the upcoming season so that she can achieve her dream of playing in the FA WSL 1.
“Well, now that I have graduated my sole focus wanted to be on football and playing in WSL1. But I was still contracted with Oxford. Brighton were very eager to sign me, and were putting necessary steps in place for promotion this season, so I went to have a look around. The women’s team share all the facilities with the men’s side who are now in the premier league, so I was blown away with their training facilities.” Umotong disclosed to Ladiesmarch.
“They’ve also just appointed Hope Powell (former England women’s head coach) in the head coaching role so the thought of being coached by someone of her calibre and experience was really exciting.
“It’s a club that’s rising quickly and will stay in the top division when we get there, so I’m really excited to be a part of it,” she added.
There are ten teams competing in the FA WSL 2 and to gain promotion to the FA WSL 1, Albion will have to finish on top of the league after playing a total of 18 games.
Powell has, however, taken it as a task that needs to be accomplished. After the 50-year-old was appointed to take charge of the team, she said: “I’m delighted to be back in management at a club that has so much ambition with amazing infrastructure both on and off the pitch.
“The task is now to build a side capable of mounting a challenge for promotion into FA Women’s Super League One.”
Powell was in charge of the English national team between 1998 and 2013. She also managed Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She was sacked after England’s group-stage elimination from Euro 2013.
Now, Powell wants to make a huge statement with Brighton and Hove Albion who are just in their second season in the second division, and Ini Umotong will prove to be a great addition to the squad.