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Alessia Russo proof you can become a professional footballer without sacrificing your education

But as England’s reputation soars on the global stage, more US universities are likely to take a keener interest in emerging players from these shores, increasing the scholarship opportunities. In America, studies are built around the athletic schedule which allows them to train every day as well as play matches.

“The experiences I had in America were unbelievable,” she explained. “And I came back with a degree so I would never go back on that.

“I think it was really valuable and the right decision at that time in my career. But, yeah, the WSL is really exciting and young players coming up in their clubs will be tempted to stay [in England].

“Either way, it is an individual decision on whether you go to America or stay in the WSL. Right now, if they are your two options, you’ve got some great options on your hands. I don’t regret going to America, I loved it, but the WSL right now is a great place to be.”

There is also a view that Russo’s football education is more rounded by playing against the best young Americans. Having earned plenty of accolades in the college game, she would also not be short of offers if she did decide to go back to America to play for a club.

“Both countries can learn from each other,” she added. “We can take into consideration how they prepare physically but the technical and tactical side of the English game is unmatched.

“I think both leagues right now are exceptional and produce some of the top talent in the world. They are definitely both exciting but it’s good to experience both.”

And if you are a parent who is worried football comes at the expense of a full education, do not be. The opportunities for young British players have never been better, or more varied. Russo is proof of that.

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