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Nikki Watts has declared that she is really excited about the prospect of playing for one of the top university teams in the United States.
The 20-year-old winger will be flying to America next week to attend Penn State University after being selected for a scholarship this year.
"It should be really good and I can't wait to go," says Nikki. "Saying goodbye will be hard, especially to my family and my boyfriend, but it is a massive opportunity and I couldn't turn it down."
Nikki will be in America for two years as she will be transferring her studies from Filton College, which she has attended for the past three years. "I have been doing a degree course in kinesiology and will continue to do so over there," she says, "and I shall be majoring in fitness studies during that time."
It was whilst playing for Filton that Nikki drew the attention of scouts. "I went to a tournament in Canada in March, playing for Filton, and my name got passed around a few universities," she reveals. "I received a few offers but decided to choose Penn State - they were ranked fourth in the USA last year and have a great reputation.
"The standard is really good and it can only improve my game."
Nikki will not be the only English player at the university because Doncaster Rovers Belles defender Emma Thomson will be joining her as a member of the squad. "Emma has been in touch and seems very nice," says Nikki. "We shall be travelling over together. She has already been over to see the facilities at Penn State and is very impressed with them.
"We fly out on Tuesday - something I am not looking forward to as I don't like flying - but once I get there it will be so hectic. We shall be training the next day so it will give me a chance to settle in quickly."
However there is one downside for Nikki in travelling to America - she will be unable to watch her beloved Swindon Town. "I'm really going to miss watching Swindon," she admits. "They are playing a friendly on Monday, which is the day before I go, so I will be able to see them at least one more time. But I do get another chance when I come home at Christmas!"
Nikki, who lives in Hungerford, started her football career with Swindon Town before joining the Southampton Centre of Excellence and playing for Southampton Saints in the Premier League. After going close to promotion, she moved to Bristol Academy on earning a place at Filton College and, although a large part of her time at the club was spent on the bench, she scored a number of important goals.
"It's something you always dream about and probably my biggest ambition," she smiles. "I'm looking forward to the experience of being in a different country and making myself a better player. If I do really well, I may be offered something over there - you never know - but it is my intention to come back to England once I have got my degree.
"I still want to play for England and this can only help my ambitions in that direction."
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