England and Chelsea’s Eniola Aluko makes Yaxley FC’s Daisy’s day
Football can have an amazing effect on lives. Twelve-year-old Daisy McGregor, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, has benefited from the encouragement of her dad Kenny, who suggested she join Yaxley FC.
Since playing regularly, she’s found that her symptoms have subsided – and she got an extra treat when her favourite player Eniola Aluko of Chelsea and England arrived to join in with the training session.
“SSE asked me to be part of the Dads and Daughters campaign,” Aluko explained.
“They wanted me to surprise Daisy. It was an amazing experience for me – seeing what an impact it has on Daisy. It was emotional, and a special day.”
Aluko was touched to see how happy Daisy was to see her and how much she loved playing – and was reminded of someone else.
“That was me!” she said.
“That’s what I felt like when I was younger! When I was growing up, I looked up to a lot of people – if they’d turned up to surprise me, I’d have been absolutely gobsmacked.”
Aluko hopes that perhaps one day Daisy might be a professional footballer herself, and able to inspire the next generation, adding: “You can’t really put a value to that.”
Playing football for a living is a relatively recent development in the women’s game; it was not so long ago that Aluko was paying weekly subs to her team, studying and working to fund her football.
It’s no wonder that she enjoyed the day with Daisy and Yaxley – and the reminder that what she does is actually really important.
When you’re a footballer, she explained, it can be easy to concentrate on training and winning, perhaps even more so when you’re chasing a league and cup double, as Chelsea were last year, or looking ahead to Champions League football, as they are now.
“Sometimes you forget,” Aluko admitted.
“You get caught up in wanting to win and scoring goals. That’s important, but the stuff that has more impact, even when you’re done playing, is how you impact other people.”
Find out more about the work SSE are doing in women’s football by visiting www.SSE.co.uk
*Carrie Dunn is SHOOT’s Women’s Football correspondent. Her book ‘The Roar of the Lionesses: Women’s Football in England’ is out now – available in all good bookshops.*