Nicoline Sørensen is a Danish professional footballer playing for Everton in the Women’s Super League. Alongside her football career, Nicoline is currently studying innovation engineering and hopes to work in industry after she hangs up her boots. The Engineer caught up with her ahead of International Women’s Day to find out about her passion for engineering and how she finds the right balance between her sporting commitments and her studies.
What inspired you to study engineering and why innovation engineering in particular?
I’ve always loved subjects such as mathematics, biology and so on. The more technical part of school was just more natural to me, so it was very obvious for me to look at all the engineering studies.
In terms of innovation, my mom and dad started their own company back in the good old days, and especially my dad has always had an innovative mind – how can we do things even better than they are today or how can we solve the problem in a better way.
So bottom line is that process and innovation engineering really has been the natural choice for me.
Where are you studying and how does it fit in with your football career?
I’m studying at a Danish university called DTU (Technical University of Denmark), which is a technical university in Denmark. At the moment it’s really simple because everything is online due to Covid. Normally we would be in school almost every day.
Normally it requires that I’m in Denmark and in school to be able to complete my study, but we try to find a solution on as many subjects as possible and from there, I’ll take the rest when I’m back in Denmark after my football career (or in my football-vacation).
It fits okay at the moment. I have classes in the morning before going to training, so that is really good. Sometimes I have to skip a class either due to training or a game – but we always work in big groups, so that makes it a lot easier for me to catch up after – and don’t leave anyone alone.
In your experience, is it common for female pros to study alongside their football commitments?
I have always been used to female players studying alongside their football. That’s because I’ve mostly played in Denmark where players aren’t full time professionals – so players either study or have a job.
I think it’s more common to see women’s players study beside their football because we have to think more about our life after football than the men have to.
And personally, I like to have something else than football in my life. I want to be smarter and learn new things all the time – and my studies really helps me with that.
Has all your learning so far has been online due to Covid? If so, has that been a challenge/disappointment?
As I said earlier, yes everything is online, and it has of course been different from what we are used to. We tried it in March 2020 as well, so we have tried it before and found a lot of tools and ways to do it, so we still can do the work we have to do.
Do you think there is any crossover in the skills/mentality required for football and engineering?
I definitely think there is.
My study is a lot about optimising and finding better ways to do it – and definitely think I benefit from that. I use a lot of it in football where I always strive to be better and optimise everything I do: training, recovery, food etc.
Is there a particular engineering sector you see yourself working in once your football career comes to an end?
Definitely something around process and innovation – it could also be an industrial designer. There is a lot of ways with my education – so I’m just really excited to see which options I get after (or during).
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to young women thinking about studying engineering?
My best advice, not only about studying engineering, playing football or whatever, is to be happy and do what you love the most.
If you are happy and do what you love, I know that the result will be great.