TikTok and Tekkers: Alisha Lehmann
Photographer: Wendy Huyn / Stylist: Lily McMurray / HMUA: Sally Rowe / Words: Sarah Hughes
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Alisha Lehmann will be the first to acknowledge the importance of home – wherever you may find it. At 19 years old, she made the trip from Switzerland to East London with West Ham United and hasn’t looked back since. In just three years, the striker has gone from strength to strength, having just completed a loan stint at Everton.
Alisha is ceaselessly committed. The striker is a powerhouse through and through. In a recent interview, Lehmann expressed, “Football is first because you can’t play your whole life. So if you have a good offer or are unhappy you need to change because it’s our job – it’s the thing we love the most.”
Her talent and dedication to the sport earned her a nomination for the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year award in 2019 and, continuing to build on her reputation and efforts, Lehmann is becoming a role model for young women in football today.
Despite her methodical approach to the game, she promotes adopting a happy-go-lucky mindset, which has seemingly proved to be her superpower amongst an ever-increasing competition within the WSL.
Recently, we caught up with Alisha in the midst of her season to chat about self-reliance, TikTok biases, Northern charm and more.
What is your pre-game ritual?
I always step onto the pitch with my left foot first. I started doing this around three years ago and it just stuck.
Who is the toughest opponent you’ve faced in your career?
The league is so good here in England! I would say Steph Houghton is one of the best players. Also when I play against Milly Bright, she’s always really strong. So I would say it’s definitely between those two.
Who is the best-dressed female footballer?
I’d have to say Shanice van de Sanden from the Netherlands. She just has such a nice style and always looks cool off the pitch.
Who is the greatest Swiss footballer of all time?
Women’s, I would say Lara Dickenmann. I played with her a bit on the Swiss National team and she truly is unreal. She’s so good and is still playing at Wolfsburg.
What is the thing you miss most from home?
100% it’s my family. With everything going on, I haven’t been able to properly see them in over a year. I miss them everyday… and Swiss chocolate and cheese, of course!
What is your biggest dream?
I’d actually consider myself to be quite “dreamless”. I think it’s something that has allowed me to live more in the moment. I just take things how they come and not think too much about the future.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
Well, again, I’m not that great with future planning, but soon it’s holidays, right?! I think after spending some time with family in Switzerland this summer, I’ll go straight on a trip to Mykonos!
Who introduced and influenced your love of football?
It was actually my cousin – we were like siblings growing up, we did everything together. I remember I started playing with him when we were about six years old. We’re so similar, I still consider him like my best friend.
You’ve really got straight to business since your arrival to the UK in 2018. Would you say that you feel at home here?
100%. Being here three years now, I feel I’m a bit of a Londoner, you know? Also, I’d say I’ve always been independent by nature, doing most things on my own. So, in a way, my move here has felt pretty natural to me.
Can you talk a little bit about your process in transitioning to West Ham & now Everton? What has helped you feel grounded and clear-headed while being away from home in Switzerland?
I had such a good time at West Ham. At one point though, I just felt like I was standing still – like I wasn’t able to grow in my football and in life. You know, sometimes you just need a change.
For us international players, the transition can be so much harder because we can’t just decide to get up and go home to our family and say, “Oh, I’m not feeling good today – make me a cup of tea”. But all the players have been so welcoming, so I have no complaints. And sure, on days I feel lonely or like I need someone, but that’s life and you’ve just got to go with it. I have to say though, the Northerners being as friendly as they are – they’ve definitely made the transition easier!
Do you believe home is a place or a feeling?
I think it’s a feeling. When I think about the idea of ‘home’, what really comes forward is just the feeling of love I have for my family.
Fans today know you for your striking talents. What is another passion you hold close to you that we may be surprised to hear about?
I’ve recently taken up playing golf actually! I’m really not that good at the moment, but hopefully, I can work on my technique, there’s always room for improvement!
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
The first thing that comes to mind is Netflix, I’ve basically watched everything. Especially the horror movies! My mum and I used to watch them together when I was younger, so I even like to watch them on my own now. They don’t scare me!
Do you have a favourite Tiktok account?
That’s tough, I really can’t pick just one. I do have certain videos that I prefer watching though, mainly one’s that make me laugh, and especially pranks.
How does it feel to be trailblazing a path for the next generation of women’s football and being a role model for young women today?
It’s really amazing. That’s what I had when I was sixteen/seventeen. I had all my role models like Lara Dickenmann or Ramona Bachmann from Switzerland that I was mesmerised by and really looked up to. And now to be in their place, as a player who can inspire and teach young girls too, it’s a feeling that has no words.