The highly rated forward joined the English women’s top flight hopefuls in January and she believes she can help the team achieve their aims
Ini Umotong has laid out her personal goals at ambitious Lewes, having broken her duck with a brace against London City Lionesses in the FA Women’s Championship last month.
The highly rated striker joined Simon Parker’s team in January after surprisingly breaking ties with Swedish top flight outfit Vaxjo.
The ambitious 26-year-old had accepted a surprise offer from the promotion hopefuls, and having opened her goal account with a double in last month’s 3-2 defeat by Lionesses, the Nigeria international is looking to contribute more in the final third to help Rocks earn promotion to the Women’s Super League.
“My main goal is just to be the best player that I can and help the team as much as possible,” Umotong told Goal. “If it means helping them get into the Women’s Super League, then that’s my ambition and the club’s ambition as well.
“We’re very much aligned in that way. My main goal is just to do my very best to help the team get where they need to be.”
After spending three years at Brighton, Umotong jumped at the chance to ply her trade outside England back in July 2020, joining Damallsvenskan side Vaxjo on an 18-month deal.
Despite leaving Sweden after only six months, she helped Magnus Olsson’s team climb out of the relegation zone to top flight safety, scoring three goals in 16 games in the process.
“It was so exciting. I love the style of football. It was very much counter-attacking football,” she said, recalling her time in Sweden. “Most of the teams play like a 3-5-2 so there’s a lot of space out wide and it’s very much counter-attacking football, which I love as a striker naturally.
“I really enjoyed my time in Sweden and the standard of football was really high as well.”
Umotong is no stranger to the Championship, having launched her career at Portsmouth before starring at Oxford, where she won the WSL 2 top scorer, scoring 13 goals in 19 outings, back in 2016.
After three games for the Rocks, she explained the reasons behind her move to The Dripping Pan, and is also excited about the prospect of gaining administrative skills off the field.
“The feel I got at the club, they’re all about developing the person, rather than just the player,” Umotong continued. “That really stuck with me, because I think it’s important that a club focuses on the person because the playing career isn’t forever.
“That definitely was a massive tick for me when making my decision to sign for Lewes, and I’ll be working with Maggie Murphy [Lewes’ General Manager]. She’s amazing. She has so much knowledge and experience.
“To be able to learn from her, it’s going to be great for my career and my studies. It fits perfectly. Maggie and I have a great working relationship so that’s very exciting, the plans for the future.”
Umotong is hopeful that Lewes’ style of play can also help her achieve her personal goals.
“On the field, speaking to Simon and their plans to make the WSL as soon as possible, and their playing style, it just suited the player that I am,” she concluded.
“They like counter-attacking football and they needed that big, strong, powerful outlet, which are my attributes. It seemed like the perfect fit, where they can help me, and I can also help them.”