Blades star Mia Enderby defies opposition players and parents on road to success

Mia Enderby used criticism from opposition players and parents as a junior to kickstart her road to Sheffield United

·4-min read
Mia Enderby previously faced criticism from opposition players and parents for playing as a girl in a boys' team.
Mia Enderby previously faced criticism from opposition players and parents for playing as a girl in a boys' team.

By Oli Dickson Jefford, Sportsbeat

Sheffield United star Mia Enderby defied opposition players and parents as a junior to kickstart her burgeoning football career.

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The 17-year-old has become a familiar and popular figure at the club, making several first-team appearances after joining the Blades in 2021 following a four-year spell in the Leeds academy.

Enderby first started playing aged six, though opportunities to play with other girls were few and far between, with the teenager more often than not playing in boys’ teams.

And she admits that her motivation to succeed stems from some of the unwelcoming attitudes she faced during her youth.

“I went to Leeds at U12, and I was there until U16,” said Enderby, who is funded by a partnership between SportsAid and Starling Bank.

“It was all girls which was great as before I’d been playing with boys, and the transition was really good. I found that I fit in more with the girls, as the boys didn’t like that I was the only girl playing and the parents were hard on me as well.

“I was really passionate and dedicated to the game and all I wanted to do was play football. I think when I was in the boys’ team it didn’t really bother me because I thought ‘I’m better than you.’ Me being a girl doesn’t define how I play and who I am, that helped me a lot.

“I was very driven. They used to say to me all the time that ‘I’m stronger than you’ but then I was like ‘I’m just as strong as you’ - I’d give it back. It’s about having that passion - you’re just as good as them.

“The parents were hard on me because they didn’t want their son tackled by a girl, but to be honest it didn’t really get in my head that they were saying stuff to me. My mind was just focused on football and I didn’t really care what everybody was saying negativity wise.

“That’s what’s made me as strong as I am today, because of all the negative comments that didn’t bother me.”

SportsAid Week 2023 is here, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.

This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.

The theme of ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ is an opportunity for the charity’s partners to highlight their own work in this area during SportsAid Week, with SportsAid athletes recently revealing that accessibility and the cost of sport are the issues they care most passionately about.

It will also open up discussions on the progress being made, as well as the challenges faced, in the sports sector.

After England’s Euro 2022 triumph last summer, Enderby believes the game is now more open than ever for young women in the game.

“It’s great now that the game has become such an important thing and anyone can be a footballer,” added Enderby, who is supported by SportsAid and commercial partner Starling Bank.

“When I was young I played with the boys and now young girls can play in a girls team.

“When I was young I didn’t have that. Now the women’s game has become just as important as the men’s, that’s great for the future.

“I think with the Lionesses winning the Euros, it’s encouraging a lot of young girls to become footballers and there’s a lot more people watching the women’s game now.

“If that carries on in the future, it’ll become a lot bigger than it is now.”

SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit