Today (15/08/21), we celebrate the birthday of Funmi Fadoju as the Roses Future turns 19.
The promising young defender is one to watch at both Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) and international level having quickly progressed through the age groups.
She showed glimpses of her quality in front of audiences in 2020 and at Netball Europe 2019, but this year she has been able to show her stuff over the course of a full Superleague season.
The teenager was voted the best U21 performer in the Superleague this term due to her displays at the heart of a London Pulse defence which only grew stronger as the season progressed.
She finished the league top for deflections (84), fourth for intercepts (38) and fifth for turnovers (62).
This season, we introduced the #VNSL Team of the Week 🆕
42 different players from ten clubs were selected by @SkyNetball pundits during the 2021 season 🗳️
— Vitality Netball Superleague (@NetballSL) July 17, 2021
She was also recently announced as a runner-up in the Most Potential category at the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) Stars Awards 2021.
Funmi has made a sizeable impact for England since her introduction to international netball in 2017.
She was first selected for a Netball Europe squad before her 16th birthday.
She made her first-ever appearance at a senior international competition at the Netball Europe Open in 2019 and helped her side to win the tournament.
This was sandwiched between two more Netball Europe triumphs in the same year – at U17 and U21 level – and an U19 tour of Australia and New Zealand.
She is now part of the Roses Futures programme for 2021-22, as well as being named in the U21 squad.
Discussing being part of the programme and the emotions when she first found out she’d been selected, she said: “It feels amazing, being able to play with these girls – so experienced and talented – is actually like a dream come true.
“I called Sam (Bird) and she was like “Funmi, you’ve made it” and I was so happy, and I had to call my parents and my sister.
“My parents wanted to tell their parents and their family and literally everyone was so excited.”
With the squad now back in camp, Funmi’s excited to be working with Jess Thirlby and the Head Coach’s new coaching team of Sonia Mkoloma, Olivia Murphy and Liana Leota.
Funmi’s personal aims for the coming months are also clear.
She said: “Being able to be coached by these players who actually have experience on court, who know the tactical and technical skills is just amazing and I’m looking forward to it.
“[My aims are] Just to fit into the team so that I find my place in the team, improve my skills, try and see if I can form any bonds with the girls and see where it takes me.”
Why not wish Funmi a happy birthday on Twitter?