Derby Futsal’s Olivia Fox takes part in Ultimate Goal on BT Sport – a search to find the next stars in women’s football.
Ultimate Goal sees 31 women from across Europe live and train like professional footballers, as the hopefuls take centre stage at the home of English Football, St George’s Park.
The first episode of Ultimate Goal will premiere on Tuesday 3 November, at 10.30pm on BT Sport 3 HD, with the remaining five shows airing every Tuesday over a six-week run.
Derby’s Fox will be coached and managed by the likes of former Chelsea, Juventus and England star Eni Aluko, ex-Liverpool, Everton and England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis, as well as Fara Williams, Rio Ferdinand, Faye White and Freddie Ljungberg.
Fox currently studies Football Journalism at the University of Derby, and last season played for Derby County Football Club Women, alongside the university football and futsal teams.
Earlier this summer Fox spoke to Derby Futsal about the development of her career, and how futsal and football compliments her pursuit of a job in media…
Football. Football. Football.
The Football Journalism course at University of Derby is very hands-on and puts the students very much in the real world with connections to the nearby clubs, like Derby County and Burton Albion. Fox has always grasped the opportunities that come her way with both hands:
“I’ve been lucky enough to go to and report on both the U20 Women’s World Cup 2018 and the Women’s World Cup 2019 so for me I’ve been at the pinnacle of the course and have loved it!
“I’ve been at Burton, Derby and more recently an extended position at MaceSport.
“The nature of the journalistic world, you are always building contacts so it’s a case of taking the opportunities when they come.”
Before Fox earned a scholarship to study at university alongside playing football for the university teams and Derby County, she played for Gillingham FC. In her first season in Derby, with the Rams reserve team, she won the Derbyshire County Cup, and in her second her team were on track to be crowned league champions before COVID-19 ended the campaign.
Lockdown restrictions amongst the coronavirus pandemic has meant a disjointed calendar, and uncertainty around how this year will pan out. But Fox is chomping at the bit to get back to competitive action:
“I personally can’t wait to be back both on the pitch and on the court!”
“But as a team, it’s a strange one for us coming so close last season and then the typical British weather saw a lot of our fixtures postponed and then a global pandemic was thrown amongst the mix. So, I think this season will be a massive one for us as a squad to achieve and be finally back together!”
Futsal skills = better football skills
The court was one place Fox was looking forward to making some real strides in this season. But the recent news of The FA’s withdrawal of funding has meant that looks incredibly unlikely. Fox may have only played futsal since she arrived at university, but she is already noticing the benefits to her football skills:
“[Futsal is improving me] 100% and in numerous ways. I probably had not noticed myself until more recently looking over clips but others have commented in the past.
“My reactions and decision making has become quicker, I’m a lot more comfortable having the ball at my feet.”
Making a positive
So whilst the future of futsal looks uncertain, and lockdown restrictions look set to disrupt the football calendar, Fox is not letting that stop her progression. From taking part in competitions on BT Sport, or turning her mum’s front room into a temporary gym, Olivia’s ultimate goal is get back to sport as soon as possible:
“[Lockdown] hasn’t been great but I’ve tried to turn it into somewhat of a positive to really focus on getting fit and ready for the season ahead.
“I’ve transformed my mum’s living room into a small gym for the time being so I’ve spent most of my days in there whilst joining I think everyone else on running apps, as well as obviously playing football as much as I possibly can!”
You can watch Olivia and 30 other hopeful players on Ultimate Goal Tuesday’s 10:30pm BT Sport 3.
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