Press Release

Dundee student keeps her eye on the ball in new TV talent competition

Published on 9 September 2020

A University of Dundee student has the chance to kick-start her career in professional football when she takes part in a new reality TV show that aims to discover fresh talent in the women’s game.

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student haley kern posing in Dundee United football kit

A University of Dundee student has the chance to kick-start her career in professional football when she takes part in a new reality TV show that aims to discover fresh talent in the women’s game. 

Haley Kern (22) was one of only 31 women from around the world chosen to participate in Ultimate Goal, a six-part competition aimed at showcasing and advancing the careers of promising female football players. The BT Sport show follows the women as they compete to prove they are future stars of the game. 

Originally from Oregon, USA, Haley moved to Dundee to study Graphic Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and is a member of the University’s Women’s Football Club. While living in Scotland she has played for Forfar Farmington and has recently signed with Dundee United Women’s Team. The most high-profile development in her career to date will see her battle it out for a chance to perform against top class opposition in front of dozens of scouts from all over the world.

In August, the central midfielder travelled down to St George’s Park, home of England’s national teams, to meet her competition and work with top coaches and sports scientists at the Ultimate Goal female football academy. 

“I honestly didn’t expect to get in,” said Haley. “The application link was sent to me by our University team captain and everything was quite last minute, but I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had to take it. 

“It was an amazing experience. When I first got there I was surprised that everyone was so nice and easy to get along with. Normally with women’s football it’s the complete opposite, especially when you’re in that competitive setting – in the end only 14 outfield players were going on to play in the final game. They were a great bunch of girls. I felt super lucky.” 

The show will be hosted by former Chelsea, Juventus and Lionesses player Eniola Aluko, who leads the team along with former England national team goalkeeper Rachel Brown Finnis. Twins Rosie and Millie Kmita, former players for West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, feature as coaches, with other surprise guests providing guidance and mentorship. 

“The coaching experience was fantastic,” continued Haley. “Along with the four main coaches we had other high-profile names come and train us. All I can say about that just now is tune in, you’ll be surprised by the people that we met!”

The series forms part of BT’s commitment, as part of its long-term partnerships with each of the four UK Home Nations Football Associations, to inspire a new generation of girls and women to get involved in football. 

“Back in the States I was part of the Portland Thornes Academy,” said Haley. “My team were the first women’s academy team to be established in the United States. Ultimate Goal reminded me of that experience because we also inspired a new generation of women to get involved and be a part of it. I think that’s really important. 

“My ultimate goal is to play at the top level. I’m hoping that being on the show will be my gateway into that world. I would like to be a professional player, but I’m at University at the moment so we’ll see. I work really hard and I’m hoping that it will eventually pay off.” 

Football fans can follow Haley’s journey when the series premieres on BT Sport later this year. Viewers will find out if she is part of the final squad chosen to prepare for a trial match against an unnamed top side. 

Enquiries

Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878

jrorke001@dundee.ac.uk

Story category

Student work/achievement