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Women's Football News
Aston Villa Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Eniola Aluko as the club's first ever Sporting Director for Women's Football.
Aluko recently announced her retirement from playing following a career that saw her represent the likes of Birmingham City, Chelsea and Juventus as well as clubs in the United States. She was also capped 102 times by England and represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.
Aston Villa CEO, Christian Purslow, told the club's official website: "Eniola enjoyed a fabulous playing career and took her first steps in the game in this city, the city where she grew up.
"She is an inspiration and inspiring role model to young girls and women in Birmingham and will help Aston Villa to be an exemplar of women's and girl's football in the region."
Aluko said: "I'm very excited to transition into a Sporting Director role. I feel it's something that I'm ready for at this point in my career. I've always been passionate about the women's game, its development and setting cultures that drive excellence.
"I'll be helping to create a successful club in Aston Villa Women, and obviously I'm back home in Birmingham where it all started for me. I'm excited for this next step."
"The team have done fantastically well this season, being unbeaten in the league and clear at the top of the table," she added. "Hopefully they'll secure promotion to the Women's Super League at the end of the season and then it's about saying, ‘where do we want to go?'.
"We want to establish a culture of excellence and high standards so that the players come in every day and are excited about being elite footballers."
Aluko has recently completed a two-year UEFA Masters for International Players, focusing on football administration and the business side of the game, in preparation for her career after playing.
Having experienced elite environments at Juventus and Chelsea as a player, Aluko will be setting the same high standards as Aston Villa Women look to become one of the leading clubs in the country.
She said: "For Aston Villa Women, it's about setting our objectives high and establishing ourselves as the best club in the Midlands.
"From my point of view, it's also about establishing a culture of excellence that I've experienced as a player.
"The owners are very serious about and committed to making sure that Aston Villa Women are in the best position to be the dominant side in the Midlands and an established side in the Women's Super League.
"It's really important that you have an ownership group that understands what it takes to establish a Women's side in that ilk."
Bringing through homegrown players has been a major source of pride for the club over recent years, producing a steady stream of players that are plying their trade in the top two divisions of women's football.
Having grown up in Birmingham herself, Aluko is keen to maintain and expand the club's focus on giving opportunities to local players.
"The DNA for the Women's team is bringing through young players, bringing through Brummie players," she said.
"We see Jack Grealish leading the Villa side for the men - he's one of our own, he's a Brummie. We want to make sure that's part of the development for the Women, bringing through young players who are local to the club.
"We want to inspire young girls to say, ‘I want to play for the Aston Villa first team one day'."
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