Aja Aguirre – The Canadian Red

She has the ability to turn out for one of four, differing national teams, should a national team call-up occur; Aja Aguirre, Nottingham Forest Women’s 29-year-old shot-stopper, has already put together an interesting, varied, and sometimes challenging, life.

That of Costa Rica and Scotland, Canada and the famed US Women’s National Team (USWNT), are all viable options for the Next Gen Sport Solutions-managed goalkeeper, and with a strong, educational background to boot, there’s certainly options aplenty moving forward.

Born and raised in British Columbia, Western Canada, into what was already a sporting family – both Aja’s parents were part of the beautiful game – you could well say that Aja’s career was mapped out, she’s just added to it and, in doing so, carved her own, unique niche in the world today.

In being coached by her father until she was fifteen-years-old, and in following in her mum’s footsteps, she was also a goalkeeper, Aja has eclipsed all that.

“We had a lot of different, sporting options, when I was growing up,” began Aja.

“In playing football, I played in defence, midfield, and attack, scoring a few goals.”

Showing both academic, and athletic promise, Aja’s coach, also a former Arkansas State University alumni, was soon given cause to suggest that maybe the young athlete would also be suited there, and she’s never looked back.

“My coach asked whether I’d be interested and was soon offered a scholarship at Arkansas; it was a huge thing to go and do that,” continued Aja, who’d go on to study a BSc in Interdisciplinary Studies encompassing that of Psychology, Exercise Science, and Health.

“I then travelled to England where I studied for an MRes in Performance Nutrition at Nottingham Trent University.

“I’d have done Psychology, as that interested me, but I’d already been accepted onto Performance Nutrition programme and I’d go on to produce a thesis around nutrition in women’s football with the girls at Forest, and they got into it.”

That was within her first spell with the club, her second arriving after she’d had a brief hiatus in the West Midlands, with Aston Villa, Aja’s first spell at the club coming quite by accident, although instigated.

There were difficulties in moving to Villa however, more than she would have liked in all honesty, and those difficulties would eventually cut short her time at Villa, eventually heading back to Nottingham – not that she physically left the city,

“I took a chance when moving to Villa, more as I was coming back from injury and had been released by Forest,” explained Aja.

“I’d got news that that (Villa) wanted me even though I was injured for about six months, but I was fortunate in my first year there that a friend was also at the club so it made travelling, to and from, much easier.

“My second year though was difficult as I had to commute from Nottingham (to Birmingham), and I wasn’t even starting, so, Forest came back for me and, initially, I was loaned back to them; I just wanted to be playing regularly again.”

If moving to Aston Villa was a risk, returning to Nottingham Forest was, maybe, that little bit riskier, even more with Aja being, at the time at least, unsure as to what her future path held at the time, let alone the future.

Not though, her aspirations, her dreams, are just as strong as ever before, and, at 29, whilst playing in that ageless position of goalkeeper, has plenty of time still on her side.

There’s even still time for her to dream of an international call-up, after all, anything is possible if you out your heart and soul into it.

“When I came back to the club I knew quite a few of the girls here,” smiled Aja, “and it came at a time when I was planning on leaving the sport, but resigning here, it coincided with my signing with an agent.

“My first season back, last season (2019-20) was going to be so great as well, and we were all very optimistic.

“We were having a really good season and I was keeping plenty of clean sheets, then all of this happened, and everything just went crazy.”

As for Aja’s future aspirations, and there’s plenty of time in which to achieve so much more, both on, and off the field, Aja most certainly remains very clued up with it all.

“I’d love to help take Forest up and then we can progress form there,” insists Aja.

“As for myself, personally, then I want to carry on more with the nutritional side (furthering her BSc and MRes academic studies), focussing on meal preparation, nutritional planning etc, as it’s something that still interest me.”

Keep up-to-date with Aja Aguirre’s continued progression via her Twitter.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @Josh Dixon Aja Aguirre in action for Nottingham Forest.

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