Ashleigh Plumptre has come home in more ways than one after she was unveiled as Leicester City Women’s latest signing on Friday.
The former Melton schoolgirl has swapped the sunshine of Los Angeles for her native Leicestershire after spending the last four years Stateside on a million-dollar football scholarship at the University of Southern California.
As well as studying pre-med, she helped the university’s women’s side, the USC Trojans, win the NCAA National Championship for just the second time in their history in 2016.
Plumptre first took up the sport as a youngster at Asfordby Amateurs Ladies and Girls FC where she became a hugely prolific goalscorer.
Her record earned a place in the Leicester City Centre of Excellence, as well as the Melton Times Junior Sportswoman of the Year award in 2007.
Evidence of her allegiances to the Foxes were evident even then, proudly wearing her City shirt to our awards ceremony.
“Leicester is a club very close to my heart,” she said.
“I am a Leicester City fan firstly, and being able to play for the club I love and support is fantastic.”
The England U23 International has been high on manager Jonathan Morgan’s wish list since last April.
“She is a player that has been on the club’s radar for a long time,” he said.
“We have followed her closely over in America and watched her development from afar.
“The time she has spent improving to become the best possible version of herself is phenomenal, and it is this type of attitude we want to engrain within our young squad.”
Plumptre (21) has developed into a commanding centre-half, but has experience in several positions through her accomplished career, including full-back and centre midfield.
“From a football point of view, I feel very confident the club can strive for promotion within the next 18 months,” she added.
“The ambition and the plans behind the scenes at Leicester is something to be very excited about.
“Leicester is the best place to continue my own development as well as striving to reach my own career goals.”