Kanisha-Mae Underdown: I can’t wait to get going

Midfielder joins the Whites.


Kanisha-Mae Underdown has become the fourth summer arrival for Leeds United Women, moving to the club from Cardiff City Women.

Dan O’Hearne snapped up the midfielder after she impressed on trial with his side and the 24-year-old is now looking forward to getting started with her new club.

Kanisha, welcome to the club! Why have you decided to join Leeds?

“I saw there were trials, so I just thought about it, turned up and went for it! I met all the girls who were lovely, I settled quickly and here we are, I can’t wait to get going properly.

“I know Paige [Williams] so when I turned up, she said she recognised me. She used to play for Rhyll in the Welsh Premier League so we’ve played each other before.

“It was nice to have a friendly face, it’s a small world! I am quite a bubbly person so I am not shy anyway, but seeing her made me feel a lot more comfortable.

“When I drove into the training ground, I thought ‘wow this is amazing’. We had brilliant facilities down in Cardiff but this is different gravy, it’s an amazing set up.

“It’s nice to be associated with the rest of the teams at the club, to train and be in the same place. From the minute I arrived everyone said hello to me.

“Now I have come here, I want to push on and see what I can do. I wanted to come somewhere where nobody knows me and I can earn my place in the team, then who knows what can happen.”

Tell us a bit about how your footballing career began, when did it all start for you?

“I started when I was six years old, my Dad got me into the sport. I was the first born and he was gutted he didn’t have a son, I think!

“So I just kicked on and loved it ever since. I remember the first game I ever had, I got ‘Player of the Match’ and I played absolutely nowhere near what I can now.

“I started in a boys team until I was 12, then we transitioned into a women’s team. I was then spotted and went to play for Cardiff City.

“I was in the academy, then worked my way into the development squad, then I made the first team squad where I stayed for eight years.

“Everything was always really good at Cardiff. I love everyone there, we were like a big family, I just thought ‘you know what, it’s time to get out my comfort zone’ and try something different, so here we are!”

It’s a bit of a journey from Cardiff to Leeds! Is this a lifestyle change as well for you?

“I am living in Manchester now. I was thinking about moving and possibly taking some time off football, but I didn’t really want to do that, I just love it so much.

“So it all depended on this really. I thought I would come to the trial, if they wanted to sign me I would sign and then move up here!

“I am an online fitness coach, I have clients online and obviously due to lockdown that has been busy for me.

“Moving up from Cardiff means I can bring those clients with me as they are online. I am also a swimming coach, I teach kids to swim across a wide variety of levels.

“Outside of work, I like to be active and go to the gym, being out with my friends, my family, I like to go for nice meals, just anything and everything to have fun really!”

And finally, what can we expect to see from you out on the pitch?

“I am a central midfielder, ideally a bit of a number eight!

“I like to think I read the game really well and I can pick a pass. If my teammates want the ball, I know I can find them and play it through.

“I’ll sit back and defend sometimes, I’ll go forward in others when I am needed.

“The competition here is great, the girls are so good in the middle of the pitch, which is nice it means I have to raise my game.”

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