7 Questions With Eniola Aluko, the Woman Changing Pro Soccer With Angel City FC

But in terms of characterizing my career, I’ve always been somebody that wanted to try and do things that have never been done before. Obviously I’m very proud of playing for Chelsea and for the England national team, but off the field I was so proud to be the first female analyst on Match of the Day in 2008. At the time, it was super terrifying, because Match of the Day is an institution in England—a male institution—but I felt confident that I was able to speak about football, analyze football, and just convey my opinion, and so I did it. And that opened up so many doors—not just for me, but for other females to follow. I always want to be at the cutting edge of try

But in terms of characterizing my career, I’ve always been somebody that wanted to try and do things that have never been dImage may contain Anderson Cooper Clothing Apparel Human Person Suit Coat Overcoat and Crowdone before. Obviously I’m very proud of playing for Chelsea and for the England national team, but off the field I was so proud to be the first female analyst on Match of the Day in 2008. At the time, it was super terrifying, because Match of the Day is an institution in England—a male institution—but I felt confident that I was able to speak about football, analyze football, and just convey my opinion, and so I did it. And that opened up so many doors—not just for me, but for other females to follow. I always want to be at the cutting edge of try

But in terms of characterizing my career, I’ve always been somebody that wanted to try and do things that have never been done before. Obviously I’m very proud of playing for Chelsea and for the England national team, but off the field I was so proud to be the first female analyst on Match of the Day in 2008. At the time, it was super terrifying, because Match of the Day is an institution in England—a male institution—but I felt confident that I was able to speak about football, analyze football, and just convey my opinion, and so I did it. And that opened up so many doors—not just for me, but for other females to follow. I always want to be at the cutting edge of tryImage may contain Human Person Musical Instrument Musician Hat Clothing Apparel Face Black Thought and Horn

But in terms of characterizing my career, I’ve always been somebody that wanted to try and do things that have never been done before. Obviously I’m very proud of playing for Chelsea and for the England national team, but off the field I was so proud to be the first female analyst on Match of the Day in 2008. At the time, it was super terrifying, because Match of the Day is an institution in England—a male institution—but I felt confident that I was able to speak about football, analyze football, and just convey my opinion, and so I did it. And that opened up so many doors—not just for me, but for other females to follow. I always want to be at the cutting edge of try

I think sport is challenging; sport is sacrifice and performance—but all of those things have not typically been associated with women, and I think women’s football blows all of that out of the water. If you come to a women’s football game there is physicality, there’s tackles, great goals, great creativity; there’s leaving it all on the field, there’s yellow cards and red cards, all of that stuff. I just think that it’s exciting expressed through the female gaze. And I think people are starting to come around to the fact that females can be just as badass as men. There’ve been so many people converted to women’s football just by watching one game, and suddenly all of the stereotypical things that they had in their minds are completely gone. That’s happened all around the world—you’re seeing 90,000 people turning up at a Barcelona women’s game against Real Madrid—when I was growing up, that was like pie in the sky. And it’s happening now because women’s football is seen as football—it’s not gendered. Now it’s seen as just great.Image may contain Human Person People Field Fara Williams Sport Sports Lydia Lassila Team Team Sport and Football

We have players from all over the world—from Japan, France, England, Germany, America, Africa. I felt that we wouldn’t be making the most of this opportunity if we didn’t bring in players that reflected the community that’s supporting us. L.A. is such a diverse, vibrant community, and I really wanted to reflect that on the field. It was very intentional to do that, because people really feel seen because of those players. It was kind of non-negotiable for me, to be honest. It’s just beautiful to see all of these players coming from around the world and really meshing together and building that chemistry.

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