Chelsea and England U18s footballer Izzy Milne offered $250k US scholarship

Dated: 16 February 2023

Chelsea U18's defender Izzy Milne 
 
Woodhouse student Izzy Milne has some big decisions to make in the near future. The talented 18-year-old footballer from Enfield came to Woodhouse from Highlands School to study politics, psychology, and history - but it is her achievements on the pitch that has prompted Michigan State University to offer her a full, four-year football scholarship worth around $60k a year.
 
Izzy currently plays for the Chelsea Women under 18s academy side as a defender and has also represented England under 18s at international level. She recently travelled to the Algarve with the England team where she started matches against Portugal and the Netherlands and is currently in Ireland with them during half-term preparing to play against the national team there.
 
Izzy must soon decide whether to accept the US scholarship, or try to make it as a professional footballer…
 
So where did it all start for Izzy?
 
“Football has always been part of my life at home. My Dad is a big Spurs fan - their matches were always on TV, and he took me to games at the old White Hart Lane ground - so that probably had a massive influence. But for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to play football, at first in the back garden with Dad and then when I joined a local boys’ team when I was six or seven.”
 
A few years later Izzy switched to a grassroots girls’ team and from there went for a trial at Arsenal.
 
“When I trialled for Arsenal I never really expected to get in, I just went out of curiosity, but after succeeding there I thought ‘Oh, this is something that I could actually do well at’. My Dad has supported me all the way, taking me to matches and giving me good feedback and constructive criticism. I’ve been with the Chelsea academy since U12s, worked my way up through the under U14s and U16s, and now the U18s - so this is the last step in the academy, with the oldest age group.”
 
How did you get the scholarship at Michigan State?
 
In the US college system, the coaches are very aware of European players and follow the big teams very closely, they scout you and will approach you based on what they’ve seen and from there conversations develop. I have committed to MSU to be a student athlete there this summer, which is a great opportunity that I’m really thankful for.
 
Now I have to decide whether I go to the USA or take my chances here in the professional game, it’s a lot to think about. I’ve always been realistic about the chance of ‘making it’ in football, but in the last couple of years things have really taken off."
 
 
"I think when I got a contract from the U16s to the U18s that was a really big step, that’s a stage where a lot of players get cut from the squad and I knew I’d been given a huge opportunity - and I’ve started every game for Chelsea U18s this season.
 
Obviously with the England squad it’s a bit different, the standard is so strong and there’s less difference between the best and those not picked - but I’ve still managed a start for a few of their matches like in Poland last year and in Portugal.
 
The priority for me is to be a professional footballer and if I get something in England - an offer from a club that I would want to stay at - then that would be better for my career and I think would show my commitment to being a pro, because the scholarship offers a more secure and to some degree luxurious path, but I’d rather play in a professional environment.
 
Offers normally come when we turn 18 or at the end of the season and moving into the Chelsea adult squad might be a bit tough, but I’d love to go out on loan somewhere to a championship team and get more experience.”
 
 
Footballing heroes?
 
Well as a Spurs fan I’ve always admired Ledley King- I went to his testimonial with my Dad, which was great - and Paolo Maldini, the AC Milan centre back, I love watching his clips on YouTube.
 
In the women’s game I really like Leah Williamson the England Captain and Arsenal centre back – I watch her game massively - and Barcelona centre back María León, a Spanish international and very good player.
 
And what about Woodhouse life?
 
“I chose to come to Woodhouse because of its reputation as a very good academic college with great results. I also wanted to leave my secondary school for a more grown-up institution. I like that its very openminded here and accepting of different people from different walks of life.
 
 Izzy with Woodhouse Principal Sugra Alibhai
 
I also like that it is a very hardworking environment. All my friends use their free periods to do extra work in our library and there is a real learning ethic here, it is a contagious culture. There’s a mature and relaxed atmosphere and the college is just focussed on getting the best out of students.
 
Woodhouse have been so supportive of my football career, allowing me time out to attend the England training camps and to train with Chelsea on Fridays which means I can be exposed to the first team. My teachers give me work to take with me when I have to travel and have always been understanding and flexible. My tutors check in with me regularly and help me to catch up on any work I’ve missed. It’s been very challenging to keep on top of my A levels, but I do feel in control, and in a way, it has made me more disciplined with my time - when I do have some spare, I use it better.”
 
And the future…
 
“My ambition is to be a professional football at the highest level and I’m happy to keep building towards that. I think I’ve done all I can in the last two years to be able to step into a professional team, I back myself to do that. I know I’ll have to work hard to establish a starting place, especially in an adult team with players of 25/26 years old, but I do think I’m in a good position to do that.”
 
We wish Izzy the best of luck – and not just in her A level exams this summer. Whichever decision she makes, we know she’ll work her hardest to make it a success and look forward to seeing her in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027, it sounds very possible…


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