From Chichester to Brighton and Chelsea ... and now to Kentucky

Hollie Olding is furthering her football career in the USA
Hollie Olding is furthering her football career in the USA

From Chichester to Brighton, then to Chelsea. But now for Hollie Olding, the United States is where she is playing her football.

At just 18, Olding has crossed the Atlantic to play for the University of Kentucky as part of a football scholarship arranged by College Scolarships USA.

The midfielder has made 14 appearances so far, with 12 of them being in the starting line-up, and has played a crucial for the university team.

“I’m very excited to be at Kentucky,” Olding said. “First of all, the facilities blew me away. It is a very professional set-up and they are just amazing.

“But, another major factor in my decision to come to Kentucky was that the coaches were amazing. They made me feel at home.”

Olding spent a year at the Chelsea Academy but was keen to try her luck in Kentucky. She spent many years at Brighton & Hove Albion, making her first-team debut at the age of just 16 back in November 2015.

The facilities blew me away. It is a very professional set-up and they are just amazing.

She recently travelled to Kazakhstan with the England women’s under-19 team as they looked to qualify for the U19 Women’s European Championships in Switzerland next year. She played in central midfield and centre-back.

England won the three games out of three, beating Kazakhstan, Wales and Slovenia, and are confident that they can qualify for the tournament. England have now qualified for the elite round, which will take place in spring 2018.

Olding was scouted for the University of Kentucky when she played in a tournament in Los Angeles in February last year.

MICHAEL HELLYER