Nigeria’s Ashleigh Plumptre Signs With Al-Ittihad Ladies in Saudi Arabia

Plumptre Signs with Al-Ittihad Ladies in Saudi Arabia (News Central TV)

Nigeria’s Super Falcons defender, Ashleigh Plumptre has made headlines by joining Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad, marking her as one of the most prominent women’s football players to make this move.

At 25 years old, Plumptre transitions to the Saudi Women’s Premier League team after spending three years with England’s Women’s Super League side, Leicester City. Plumptre’s recruitment is orchestrated by Kelly Lindsey, the former technical director of Championship side Lewes, who now serves as the head manager of Al-Ittihad. Lindsey, a former US international, has previously held coaching roles with the Afghanistan women’s national team and the Morocco women’s national team.

Myles Smith, her assistant, brings a wealth of experience from his six-year tenure in West Ham Women’s setup and nine months as a scout for Manchester United Women. Additionally, the team benefits from the expertise of goalkeeping coach Dan Smith, who joined from newly promoted Bristol City.

Plumptre Signs with Al-Ittihad Ladies in Saudi Arabia (News Central TV)
Nigeria’s Super Falcons defender, Ashleigh Plumptre

Plumptre took to X (formerly Twitter) to express her feelings, stating, “I am excited to start this journey alongside some incredible human beings. My journey of stepping into more of myself continues … It’s more than football.”

Plumptre made a lasting impression at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand while representing Nigeria, narrowly missing out on a place in the quarterfinals as Nigeria narrowly lost to England in a penalty shootout after a goalless 120 minutes of play.

While she had previously represented England at various youth levels, Plumptre decided to play for Nigeria at the senior level, a choice she qualified for through her paternal grandfather.

Plumptre joins the Saudi League for its second season, following in the footsteps of players like Venezuela’s Oriana Altuve, fellow Nigerian Rita Chikwelu, and Sweden’s Nor Mustafa.

Al-Ittihad secured a fifth-place finish in the eight-team league during its inaugural season, boasting five wins and six draws from 14 games. The upcoming season kicks off on October 13th. Additionally, the 30-team second tier, comprised of six regional groups, will see three teams promoted to the top flight following a knockout competition among the regional winners and one relegated from the top division. The champions of the top tier will claim SR2 million (£427,457) in prize money.

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