Soak it all in, enjoy it and leave the tournament with no regrets. That was my motto for the Euros and I want it to be the exact same for the World Cup
(estimated 4 minute read time)
England Debut: 11/03/2020
Current Club: Arsenal WFC
Squad Number: 23
The excitement of England’s achievement in the Women’s World Cup has got us thinking about one Lioness in particular, Alessia Russo. The 24-year-old has quickly become a fan favourite since her iconic backheel goal during the Euro’s last summer, which led to England Women’s first major tournament win. Since then, she’s shown no signs of slowing down. Having scored 3 goals in the World Cup, Russo has now been dubbed the ‘golden girl’ of the Women’s Super League. The Kent-born striker’s success doesn’t stop there, she has also become an ambassador for huge-name brands such as Adidas, Beats by Dre and Oakley.
Credit: Arsenal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpvvFYaSAD8
The obsession started while watching her older brother play football. As soon as she was old enough to join a team herself, she did, making her the only girl in the under-eights at her local club West Farleigh FC. Alessia went on to play at Bearsted FC, where she played for both the boys and girls Under-10s. It was at Bearsted where she began to play more regularly and everyone noticed she belonged on the pitch, a future Lioness in waiting.
At the age of eight, she joined Charlton alongside playing at Bearsted, before being scouted for Chelsea where she stayed until the age of 17. Her passion for football didn’t stop at home, she joined St Simon Stock Catholic School and continued playing in the schoolyard with the boys any time she could. After a brief spell at Brighton, her next move was overseas for an opportunity too good to turn down, a scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She shared the experience with fellow England and now Arsenal teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy, as they spent two years in North Carolina before returning to the UK amid the Covid lockdown.
Manchester United WFC
In September 2020, Alessia signed a two-year contract with Manchester United, the club her and her family have supported since her grandfather became a fan after moving to England from Italy in the 1950’s. Russo was the subject of world record bids from Arsenal back in January which were rejected, and she then went on to score her first hat-trick against Leicester City in March. It was announced mid-June that Alessia’s contract had come to an end, so she made the move to the Gunners on 4th July and the next day set off to Australia for the Women’s World Cup 2023.
Russo made her first senior international debut on 11th March 2020, appearing as a 76th-minute substitute for Toni Duggan in a 1-0 defeat to Spain. Over a year later, in November 2021, she scored her first international goal, however, it wasn’t just the one, she scored a hat-trick in just 11 minutes! Her first goal broke the record for England women’s biggest ever international win and by the third goal, she’d broken a second record, the fastest ever hat-trick in either England men’s or women’s history.
She’d now well and truly proven her worthiness to be a Lioness and joined the England squad for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022. She appeared in all six games, scoring four goals and making the fourth a memorable one. Her cheeky backheel goal through the legs of Sweden keeper, Hedvig Lindahl, was awarded “Goal of the Tournament” by UEFA and was later nominated for the 2022 FIFA Puskás Award.
Speaking with Dazed in a pre-World Cup interview Russo said “Soak it all in, enjoy it and leave the tournament with no regrets. That was my motto for the Euros and I want it to be the exact same for the World Cup. My dream match is a World Cup final. I don’t care who it’s against, it doesn’t matter where it is, winning obviously. I’d like to [score the winning goal] but as long as we win, I don’t mind.” Russo’s dream of playing in a World Cup final came true and despite the result, she and the Lionesses have inspired a whole new generation of footballers along the way.
This certainly isn’t the last we’ll see of Alessia Russo and we can’t wait to see more of her at Arsenal in the WSL this season. Discover the latest women’s football hospitality events with Hospitality Finder.