Revolutionising campus sport

A young Essex Rebels fan holding a 'Go girls' banner.

Sport is at the heart of what makes Essex a special place to study, live and thrive.

From humble beginnings the campus is now the home of sport in the Eastern region – attracting talent from all over the world.

From hosting record breaking basketball games, to supporting the next generation of Lionesses, the future is bright for sport as we enter our 60th year.

The Rebel Yell

The pounding bounce of the ball, swish of the net and the roar of a packed home crowd are now familiar sounds on campus – but it wasn’t always this way.

From humble beginnings in a now-demolished gym the University is now home to three elite sports teams competing at the highest levels and inspiring future generations.

The drama, excitement, and entertainment of an Essex Rebels home game have been wowing crowds for five years, with the game growing at a rapid rate.

The Women's British Basketball League side has gone from strength-to-strength since first being launched and has transformed the game in Essex alongside their male counterparts.

Dedicated to empowering girls to take to the court, players regularly head out into schools to inspire the stars of the tomorrow.

Launching in 2018/19 the side only won three games in the first season, now the side attracts international talent from as far afield as South Africa.

Now the women’s team aspires to be in the WBBL play-offs each year,– and on its day, the team is capable of beating almost any team in the league.

This year saw the side win in front of the largest home crowd the women’s basketball league has ever seen.

Families flocked to the Essex Sport Arena to celebrate International Women’s Day with an incredible crowd of 1,505 cheering them on.

We need your help to do it again.

Essex Rebels at the Colchester High Street Soapbox rally event
Member of the Essex Rebels Women's basketball team

It is not just basketball being served up at Essex – with the nation’s best volleyball players now competing under the Rebels franchise.

The high-performance sides also compete in the incredible Essex Sport Arena in the National Volleyball Super League – England’s highest level.

Rebels players are now running out for their national sides in international tournaments.
In September Thomas Jefferson, 20, and Thomas Shatimehin, 19, travelled to Korea and battled bravely against top sides USA, Australia and Vietnam to secure third place in the South Korea-hosted International College Tournament.

The Rebels in Numbers

10,365 spectators a season

32 live games streamed

2,000 children a year at Rebels Roadshows

250 kids at junior sessions every week

Women's football team players

Bringing Women’s Football Home

Football has come to the University of Essex with future Lionesses to reap the benefits of an exciting partnership with the FA.

The programme comes during an unprecedented time in female football with the England Women’s side inspiring a generation of girls to follow their sporting dreams by reaching the World Cup final and winning the 2022 European Championship.

As the newest FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre Essex has pledged to increase the number of women and girls in the sport to create a world-class talent pipeline from grassroots to elite level.

After launching in September 2022 the facility has become a thriving hub for the Eastern Region – with talent drawn from, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

Working with clubs and players from the grassroots level up to elite internationals the centre will provide a hub to recruit and develop coaches who will spearhead development in the women’s and girls’ games.

From Kentucky to Colchester

The University attracts talent from all over the world to study and compete at the highest level.

Essex is dedicated to developing athletes from all over the world with more than 100 student sport stars on campus who have travelled from countries such as USA, Serbia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Australia.

Allie Morris, 22, has travelled from Kentucky to Colchester to pursue her passion for rugby.

The utility forward – who plays across the pack- will continue her studies in Essex and is also undertaking a Master's Degree in criminology.

Allie is the university’s first overseas rugby scholar and is looking forward to blending academic achievement and her passion for sport.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from the University of Georgia, Allie made the choice to join the university’s prestigious Sociology department to expand her studies.

Before jetting to England Allie had never left America and is excited to learn all she can about the game whilst furthering her studies.
She said: “I’m so excited to be here, I just want to better at the game and experience England for what it has to offer.

“I just want to learn and experience from English rugby it is almost a different game from what I have been used to playing.
“It is a lot more technical and I know it is just going to make me a much better player.”

She added: “Being offered the Sports Performance Scholarship was truly the icing on the cake.
“Being in a well-supported rugby programme was a huge reason for choosing to come to England in the first place, so Essex made the decision to come here that much easier by offering me the scholarship to help lead me towards my goal of becoming a better overall player.”

Allie Morris standing by the Rugby posts

Find out more about Sport at Essex

Students in the football team on goal

Explore our Performance Sport and Scholarship Programme

Talented athletes joining the University of Essex’s Performance Programme have access to expert coaching, a wide range of world-class sporting facilities and specialist support designed to encourage and develop individual athletes and teams towards BUCS, national and international success.

Essex Rebels logo

Meet the Essex Rebels

The Essex Rebels compete at an elite national league level in both basketball and volleyball. Their home is the Essex Sport Arena situated within the University of Essex.

University of Essex logo

Sixty Stories

We’re celebrating 60 years of making change happen.  60 years of boldness and bravery from our students past and present. 60 years of creating change.