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Nigeria Players Abroad

Ashleigh Plumptre opens up on father’s influence in Saudi move from England



By Monsurah Olatunji

Nigeria defender, Ashleigh Plumptre, has shared insights into the factors behind her decision to join the Saudi Women’s Premier League, revealing the influential role played by her father in the process.

The 25-year-old center-back embarked on a new chapter in her football career after departing Leicester City when her contract at the King Power Stadium expired.

Plumptre’s journey took her to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with the Super Falcons, following which she made the move to Al Ittihad.

Reflecting on her diverse background and deep passion for the sport, Plumptre highlighted the pivotal role her father, acting as her agent, played in presenting the opportunity to join a team in Saudi Arabia.

“My team came about, and I remember my dad’s my agent and he brought it up. He said a team in Saudi Arabia contacted me,” Plumptre recounted.

Despite initial reservations, Plumptre engaged in discussions with the Saudi club, ultimately finding a strong alignment between her values and ambitions and those of the club’s leadership.

“Within that hour, most of the time we didn’t even speak about football. It was more about who we are as people, the things that we value and we care about,” Plumptre explained.

Feeling a deep sense of connection with the club’s ethos and vision, Plumptre made the decision to join Al Ittihad before the World Cup, keeping the news private to maintain focus on the tournament.

“It happened very unexpectedly, but also I felt like I was at a point where I knew, like, my journey in football has always been reflective of me as a person,” she expressed.

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Plumptre’s decision to embrace this new chapter in her footballing journey underscores her belief in collective achievement and the fulfillment derived from contributing to something larger than oneself.

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