Rinsola Babajide hopes to be on target at Euro 2017
Sports Coaching student set to star for England at the under-19 tournament
University of East London (UEL) sports scholar Rinsola Babajide is ready to showcase her skills on the international stage when she pulls on an England shirt at next week’s Women’s Euro 2017 Under-19s Championships in Northern Ireland.
With the Women’s senior squad currently hitting the headlines with their performances at the senior Women’s Euro 2017, the talented striker is hoping the under-19 tournament will be a stepping-stone to greater things.
Rinsola played a key part in England’s three consecutive wins at the qualification tournament in Turkey in April, and she is hopeful she can make another big impression.
“I want to be able to make a big impact in the team and the tournament,” she said. “As a forward, I need to be making positive runs, creating chances and making assists and goals. That’s my aim.
“It’s all of our opportunity to show what we’ve got on the pitch. It’s our showcase.”
Rinsola has been in outstanding goalscoring form for UEL this season. In one match – against University College London – she came on a second-half substitute and netted an astonishing 14 goals.
But the hotshot will need to be at her best in Northern Ireland after England were drawn in one of the most difficult groups. They open their campaign against Italy on 8 August before facing Holland and France.
“I’m excited for the challenge,” said Rinsola. “I can’t wait to get going now. It’s not the easiest of groups but we’ve had good results against all of those countries in recent times.
“I think we can match the senior squad and go into the latter stages of the tournament. Semi-finals, final – that’s got to be the level we’re striving for.”
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 – an academy that previously coached Liverpool and England defender Nathaniel Clyne.
She signed for Watford Ladies in February, having previously played for Millwall Lionesses. She is studying for a degree in Sports Coaching at UEL and is supported by the University’s acclaimed sports scholarship programme.
She said, “The strength and conditioning programme at UEL has helped me both on and off the pitch. Not only have I been able to build my core strength but it’s helped me with my balance, and that’s shown on the training pitch and in games.”