Football: Putri, 17, becomes first female Singapore player to earn overseas athletic scholarship

SINGAPORE – Putri Nur Syaliza Sazali will pursue her football ambitions in the United States on an overseas athletic scholarship, a first for a female footballer in Singapore.

The 17-year-old will be on a four-year scholarship at Cumberland University, a private university in Tennessee, the Football Association of Singapore announced on Friday (Jan 8).

Having dreamt of developing her skills overseas, Putri started to look for overseas football scholarships in the middle of last year.

She had set her sights on Cumberland University after watching YouTube videos of the women’s football varsity team as she thought that their attacking playing style was the right fit for her.

Learning that the school also placed special focus on their athletes also appealed to her.

The teenager, who made her debut for the national team when she was 14, was pleasantly surprised when she received the news that her application had been successful last September.

In the FAS announcement, Putri said: “To be honest, I didn’t rate my chances at all, and I just wanted to try my luck (by applying for the scholarship). My parents were also super supportive, something I was extremely thankful for.”

She hopes that this will encourage other local footballers to chase their dreams, saying: “I hope that me being offered the athletic scholarship will spur and motivate other girls to pursue their passion in football since they now know that it is actually possible to achieve something like this.

“We just need to work hard and have faith in ourselves, and eventually everything will work out well.”

Julie Teo, the Football Association of Singapore’s head of grassroots and women’s football, added: “We are very pleased that Putri received the scholarship through football into Cumberland University, as it does show that we do have the talent pool for women’s football, and it is definitely something for us to build on.

“It is also especially encouraging to discover the growing young talent in our country’s women football community, and I hope that this will inspire and motivate other girls to strive hard to achieve footballing success too.”

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