A final year student and star footballer at the Birkenhead Sixth Form College is preparing for life across the Atlantic after she won a sporting scholarship to a highly prestigious New York university.

Emma Johnson will fly to the USA after completing her A Levels to take up a place at Fordham University in New York City, having shone in both her academic and sporting life.

A former youth team captain for Everton, Emma now plays for the full Everton Ladies reserves at the age of just 18, and is also set for the highest possible grades in her impending A Level exams.

"Some people say that if you’re academic then you won’t be sporty...if you’re motivated then it’s just in your nature. It’s not exclusive to sport or education."

Emma Johnson, second year

Emma, from Upton, said: “It’s really exciting but it’s going to be a lot of hard work. It’s an academic degree but football’s going to take up a lot of my time.

“When I went over to visit, the teams were training at six o’clock in the morning, then going to lessons after that and training again in the afternoon. They also have up to three matches a week at the beginning of the season, so you can be flying all over America. You really have to keep up to date with your studies or you’ll fall behind.”

Emma will also have the extra challenge of taking on the American university education system rather than what we’re used to in England.

The Biology, Psychology and Sport & PE student explained: “You have to pick a major in America, which I haven’t done yet, but the whole system over there means that I’ll be studying much more than just the one subject to start with. I’ll be studying things like Philosophy and Maths. It gives me a bit more time to figure out what I actually want to do. I’m leaning towards doing Psychology as my major because I’ve really enjoyed that here at College.”

Along with footballing and College commitments, Emma has also managed to hold down a job, which she is only now giving up in preparation for her exams and her move abroad.

She said: “Some people say that if you’re academic then you won’t be sporty but as lot of the people I know in football are academic as well, because if you’re motivated then it’s just in your nature. It’s not exclusive to sport or education. One can help with focus on the other. I do homework as soon as I get it, and write up my notes to try to keep on top of it as much as I can.”

On her goals for after her time at Fordham University, Emma said: “Getting a degree is first and foremost, which will also help me find a professional team over in America if I choose to keep playing football. The quality of football over there is a lot better and is higher paid, so that’s definitely an option. Fordham is quite a prestigious university too, so getting a degree from there is good for the CV and can lead to better paid jobs in general.”

Emma’s new home will be in the Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs, living on the private Fordham campus, but not before completing her time at Birkenhead Sixth Form College and taking her A Levels.

She concluded: “I’ve had some great teachers during my time here, and really enjoyed it. It’s a nice place to study for exams now too, because I work better when I’m not at home, and the HUB being open late now is a big help!”