Wed 16 Aug 23
A student striker has scored on her debut after becoming the University of Essex’s first female footballer selected for England.
Victoria Leyer, 22, lined up with the English Universities Sport side after taking part in a training camp at Loughborough University thanks to impressive performances with the Essex Blades and winning through a trial.
Victoria even scored a goal on her debut as English Universities took on Rugby Borough Women FC
The 22-year-old Sports Therapy graduate is president of the Essex Blades, leading from the front and scoring nine goals this season and securing seven assists.
Norfolk local Victoria has also impressed with the Norwich Academy and Dussingdale Women’s – but singled out her sports scholarship for sparking success.
Football Performance Coach at Essex Pedro Bruno said: "This is a tantastic moment for Victoria as the first Essex female footballer to represent England Universities. It is also an incredible moment for our football programme and proof we're on the right path.
“We’re delighted that after completing her undergraduate studies she is going to continue at Essex to complete a Masters in Sport and Exercise Science and play another season for the Blades.”
The sports scholarship programme sees budding athletes offered fee reductions on courses, access to state-of-the-art facilities, performance coaching, the option to live in the newly dedicated Athlete Village
Victoria said: “The football scholarship has made a huge positive difference to me and my footballing journey.
“It has given me huge encouragement to continue to strive to become the best player and version of myself.
“My journey at Essex has been an amazing experience and has helped me overcome many challenges that have helped me grow as a person.
“Balancing my academics and professional ambitions has been challenging at times, however throughout university, they have become closely connected.
“Studying sports therapy has helped me draw a path to my career ambitions within the sporting community.”
And added: “Essex has been an amazing place to study and the most enjoyable experience.
“I have met so many amazing people along the way, I feel I have made lifelong friends that I’ve gained so many memories with.
“There are so many amazing opportunities that come alongside this university, and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of it.”
Victoria join players from across the country at Loughborough University for the national squad training camp.
Coach Pedro added: “Victoria has been an instrumental athlete over the last 2 years for our football programme. She was part of two league promotions, a fantastic debut season at BUCS Premier South and collected top goal scorer title along the way on several occasions.
“I am not surprised her being selected to the squad, just surprised it didn’t happen earlier."