Stoke striker Sarah Essam hails Ramadan Sobhi as she inspires new generation of Egyptian footballers

After signing for Stoke City Ladies in 2017 from Egyptian club Wadi Degla, Sarah Essam has sent shockwaves in the Women’s Premier League, helping Stoke to a fourth place finish last season. The 19-year-old forward has scored an impressive six goals in her last 12 games and recently extended her contract for an extra year after some stellar performances, including a goal in the development team’s last outing against Sandwell.
However it’s the impact in her home country of Egypt that is the most monumental.
“What I’m so proud of is that women who didn’t know about women’s football in Egypt, they started to know about women’s football after I played for Stoke,” said Essem.
Her spell in English football has revolutionised the game in Egypt and inspired a young generation to follow in her footsteps, as she helps Stoke climb the football pyramid.
  “Now I’m taking women’s football in Egypt to a whole new level,” said Essem.
  “All the young female footballers from the next generation are very motivated by what I did and now they have hope.
  “They feel like it is possible for them to play abroad… and this is what I am very proud of. ”
One of the main reasons she joined Stoke was the influence another Egyptian international at Stoke City – former winger Ramadan Sobhi.
  “I know Stoke is a big club and it’s a big name, and also Ramadan Sobhi played for Stoke City. Everybody in Egypt knew about this club and I thought it was going to be a good start to put me on the right track.”
Essam first played for Egypt’s national team when she was 16, competing in the African Cup qualifications and made more than 20 international appearances. Upon signing for the Potters from Egyptian Premier League side Wadi Degla she became the first Egyptian woman to play and score in the English Women’s Premier League.
Since signing for Stoke, Sarah has impressed and she was rewarded with a one year contract extension in July. This year Sarah feels she can do something special with the club and believes in both herself and her teammates to achieve this: “ I really want to have a big impact with the team this season,” she added.
 “ I believe in my teammates, I believe in myself as well and I believe we can do something this year as a club. ”
In terms of personal targets for the season ahead another exciting campaign beckons for Stoke and Sarah:
“I’m looking forward to get as much game time as possible, score goals and, the most important thing of course, help the team win.”
Stoke City Ladies are away at Sheffield Ladies this Sunday and Sarah will be hoping to be included in the squad and make a big impact.

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