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15 September 2019 | in Football, Summer Universiade, FISU Athletes

Inspirational Universiade football star joins AC Milan!

Photo courtesy: AC Milan FemminileSoft-spoken and humble, yet a leader on the pitch and a role-model for many, South African footballer Refiloe Jane continues to grow in stardom following her latest feat.

 

The talented midfielder, who was first spotted playing soccer on the dusty streets of Pimville, Soweto in rural South Africa, says she is now living her dream as 2019 continues to play out as a fairy-tale.

 

The 27-year-old’s rise has been meteoric: after turning out for local amateur sides during her teenage years, Jane enrolled in the Tshwane University of Technology to do a diploma in Sports Management. That’s when her star really began to shine as she captained South Africa’s Universiade team to a credible fourth place finish at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade.

 

2018 turned out to be even more memorable, as Jane captained Banyana Banyana – as South Africa’s women’s national team is known – to regional COSAFA Women’s Cup victory; helped her national side to FIFA World Cup qualification; was named Provincial Sportswoman of the Year while also securing a high-profile club transfer abroad. Jane joined national teammate Rhoda Mulaudzi at Canberra United, and together they become the first two South African women footballers to sign for a club in Australia.

 

Since then, Jane has represented her country with aplomb in South Africa’s maiden appearance at a FIFA World Cup and in winning a sixth regional COSAFA Women’s Cup last month.


Photo courtesy: BackpagePix
Now, the national heroine has been scooped up by Italian giants AC Milan, signing a one-year contract with the Serie A side. In doing so, she has become the first South African female footballer to join an Italian club.

 

“I’m so happy to be signed by a leading women’s team – AC Milan,” the delighted football star said. “It’s a dream come true to be able to play in Europe. I’ve never played in Europe before and it’s always been a dream of mine to be able to play in such big leagues and to be signed by such a big club.”

 
With many of her national teammates spread across Europe at various other clubs, Jane is proud to be part of a generation that is empowering women in sports, while giving youngsters hope and a path to emulate.

 

“Sport as a career for women is moving in a positive direction,” she said. “We have seen that many women in sports are getting managerial roles in male-dominated areas while also getting recognised as athletes, administrators and as followers of the sport.

 

“It’s also good for the sport in South Africa when there’s many women playing abroad. That can also contribute positively to our nation.

 

A hard-working footballer who deftly combined education and sport, Jane is now rewriting the history books and paving the way for future stars.

 

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