Today is International Women’s Day, and we’re celebrating one of the brightest young talents at Hull FC’s Centre of Excellence – Alisha Roper.
Alisha, who is just 16 years of age, studies at the Hull FC Sports College at the Centre of Excellence. She is part of the DiSE programme for talented athletes under the age of 19, which provides her with a pathway to make her way towards playing for England Women one day.
Speaking about the DiSE programme, she said: “The England programme lasts two years and provides me with all of the tools I need to get the best I can become, which is really useful.
“We look into all the skills and techniques that we could bring to the team. We also talk about the nutrition and diets on the programme, which is something that you don’t think is that important when you’re this young!
“The experience has been great – I have got to meet new people, communicate with new coaches and learn new things. To be told I am now involved in the England pathway makes me very proud of myself for how far I have come.”
Alisha is currently studying an NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Sport & Physical Activity, which is working hand-in-hand with her ambitions to become a professional athlete.
“I wasn’t very confident when I first joined the Centre of Excellence, but I think I have come on leaps and bounds since,” she said.
“The coaches and the tutors have helped me develop so much. They’re really friendly and supportive, which makes it a really comfortable environment.
“There were a couple of theory-based exercises we did on the DiSE programme with England, so I was able to use some of the stuff I had learned at the Centre of Excellence, which was great.”
As the Centre of Excellence houses Hull FC’s Academy and Scholarship teams, it is a male-dominated environment the majority of the time. However, her tutor, Ryan Langton, has praised Alisha for her maturity.
“Alisha is the only girl who is based at the Centre of Excellence on a full-time basis, but she doesn’t let that bog her down,” he said.
“To be involved in an environment that is so male-led, she doesn’t allow that to affect her. I think that demonstrates her courage, her maturity and her determination to not allow anything to get in the way of her career ambitions.
“One other thing that impresses me about Alisha is her academic intelligence. Whilst physically she is in really good shape, she shows a desire to learn about the theory in the classroom. That demonstrates to me that she’s really switched on and she can go far in her career.”
Interested in studying at our Centre of Excellence? Click here for more information!