Freestyle footballer and Charlton Athletic star Freda Ayisi is confident either Jill Scott or Karen Carney will become the first female to score at Soccer Aid for UNICEF this year.
The two England icons will be reunited at Old Trafford in June as they both prepare to feature in their first ever Soccer Aid.
Ayisi will also be involved this year — she will be filming some technical challenges with the players as part of the day’s entertainment.
The midfielder spoke to GIVEMESPORT and said she is excited to “test the players’ tekkers” as they prepare for the 12th instalment of Soccer Aid for UNICEF.
More women involved in Soccer Aid
Despite past players including Chelcee Grimes and Kelly Smith coming close, a female player is still yet to bag a goal on the Soccer Aid stage.
Scott has been named as the England captain, marking history as the first woman to lead a side out. Teamed up with fellow former midfielder Carney, could one of the former Lionesses make history?
“They’re both ballers but no pressure!” Ayisi laughed.
Last year, Soccer Aid for UNICEF featured more women than ever before, and this year looks set to continue along this path.
Scott and Carney will link up with forward Eni Aluko again, while Chelsea manager Emma Hayes and actor Vicky McClure have been named as co-managers.
“It shows that people are supporting the game more than ever, and it’s being taken seriously. It’s inspiring for the younger generations,” Ayisi said.
Freda Ayisi’s viral videos
Ayisi is a big talent for her club on the pitch, but she is also seriously impressive with her freestyle skills.
Boasting more than 560,000 followers across Instagram and TikTok, she regularly uploads videos of her hitting insane shots and showing off her velcro-like first touch.
Sharing her talent has inspired many others and her videos have become incredibly popular, which only encourages Ayisi to keep creating this kind of content.
“I just decided to put it on camera and I saw that people really love it and enjoy watching it. I think it just gives me extra energy and makes me want to do it even more,” she explained.
Arsenal legend and fierce women’s football ally Ian Wright shared one of Ayisi’s challenge videos on TikTok, and it’s safe to say he was seriously impressed with what he saw.
Video: Ian Wright’s brilliant reaction to Freda Ayisi’s ball skills
Ayisi admitted she thought it was a fake account at first who had shared her video, but when she realised it was Wright himself, she could hardly believe it.
“I saw a notification on my phone that said ‘Ian Wright’, but because it was through TikTok, I was like ‘whatever’. But then I started getting more notifications and then I saw it, and I was just gassed.
“I was like ‘oh my days, Ian Wright!’”
Who is playing Soccer Aid 2023?
The following names have been announced to participate in Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023.
Many have pulled on the famous jerseys before, but there are also some first-timers on the roster too.
Soccer Aid World XI: Usain Bolt (Captain) Robbie Keane (Coach), Lee Mack, Steven Bartlett, Kem Cetinay.
England: Emma Hayes (Co-Manager), Vicky McClure (Co-Manager), Jill Scott (Captain), Paddy McGuinness (Goalkeeper), Jermaine Defoe, Karen Carney, Gary Cahill, Jack Wilshere, Danny Dyer, Bugzy Malone, Tom Grennan, Sir Mo Farah, Alex Brooker, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Chunkz.
Plenty more names are still due to be announced as we count down the days towards Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023 at Old Trafford.
Tickets for Soccer Aid For UNICEF are on sale now via www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a family of four able to attend for just £60 — two adults and two children.