Spurs Lucia Leon on juggling studies at Middlesex University with her football career
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Lucia Leon, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur Women and studies at Middlesex University, revealed she couldn’t speak any English when she first joined the team.
The 22-year-old, who is a second year Sports Science student, has enjoyed remarkable success with Spurs in the past year after the club won promotion to the top tier FA Women's Super League.
But the journey has been far from easy for the talented defender who joined the club's youth ranks seven years ago after moving to London with her family from Madrid.
"I couldn't speak any English when I first joined Spurs and it was so difficult but thankfully football is a universal language.
"So you just play and very slowly I started to pick up the language with my friends.
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"Luckily I had a very good group of friends who used to take me out and I was forced to learn the language because I wouldn't have had friends or anything.Now it's completely fine."
After settling into life in the UK, Lucia began pursuing educational qualifications at Barnet and Southgate College with support from Spurs women.
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Her current schedule juggling university studies with playing football at the highest level is unenviable.
It's a world away from the stereotypical view some might have of students partying every night.
She trains three times a week, has two full days at the Hendon and Allianz Park campuses and another hour for studies on Friday, before matches at the weekend.
"In these two years I don't think I've ever been to any uni party," she said.
"I might have a match the next day or training so it's literally impossible to go out partying.
"You might be able to do it out of season or maybe where you have a long weekend off because of internationals or its Christmas time but it's very rare for me to go out."
But the hard work has paid off with Lucia featuring in 17 games in the FA Women's Championship last season and earning a call up to the Spanish under 23 side.
"The Spanish (Under 23) call up was a really proud moment for me and my family. The two promotions happened so quickly but good things happen to good people. I truly believe that. Tottenham has a lot more to show."
The career of a professional footballer does not last forever and it's why Lucia has pursued her next biggest passion in helping other people maintain high levels of fitness by working as an instructor.
"There were teachers here (at Middlesex) who I've worked with before so I had a good relationship with them," she added.
"So I thought if I'm going to do this course for three years, I want to do something I want to do and that's why I choose Middlesex.
"Everything I'm learning at Middlesex is linked to being a gym instructor.
"I love the gym stuff and helping to keep people fit.
"I'm hoping to work with individuals and athletes."