FA Girls’ Football Week: “Football has a massive impact on my life in a really positive way” – Kacie, TyneMet College

AoC Sport is delighted to be supporting another FA Girls’ Football Week, taking place between Monday 6 and Sunday 12 November 2017.

The FA Girls’ Football Week is a great opportunity to get women and girls playing football at your college.

The national campaign will help The FA achieve its aim to double participation by 2020. Whether it be playing, training or simply learning about the beautiful game we want as many girls as possible taking part and having fun.

As part of FA Girls’ Football Week, we spoke to Tyne Metropolitan College student and former FA Women’s Super League player, Kacie.

Tell us about your journey in football. How did you start?

When I was 10 years old my grandad and uncle took me to the park for a kickabout as they both had careers in football. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old however that I was selected to play for my high school in the county final with the U16s team.

At 13, I started to play for my local team and we went on to win the treble in my first season. The next year, I attended a school football tournament which resulted in Birmingham City coaches inviting me to a trial. I trialled for both Aston Villa and Birmingham City and was successful in each. At 15, I chose to sign with Aston Villa U17s, and we finished 2nd in the league to none other than Birmingham City.

I then signed for Aston Villa Reserves and First Team. It was an incredible experience as the facilities were high quality and I was playing in the Women’s Super League. I had the pleasure of playing against well-known professional footballers and internationals from all over the world.

Unfortunately after a pre-season with Aston Villa and Leicester City, I relocated to Newcastle. Now I’m playing for my college team and really enjoy it. I’ve also joined a club called Newcastle East End. Playing for these teams has allowed me to enjoy playing again. I have never enjoyed football so much since moving up north.

What motivates you to play football?

Football has always been in the family so I have been encouraged to play from a young age. The support my family and friends give me motivates me to play football and do better every day. Also, enjoyment motivates me. Football just appeals to me for so many reasons. I enjoy training with my friends and coaches, so working in this positive environment is hugely motivating. I can’t deny that winning matches and trophies is a factor too: I’m extremely competitive and enjoy winning and being successful, which I can achieve through football in many ways.

How does football fit with your life at college?

At college, I have a very flexible schedule, so football fits in really well. Football makes my life very busy but I enjoy it so much that I don’t mind. I study Sports and Exercise Science Level 3 at college, which compliments my football career as it has helped me understand the importance of nutrition, how the body works, and all the muscles and injuries you can attain. I’ve also studied sport psychology and have learnt about the motivating factors and feelings in the sport, along with how important mindset is. Through my experiences in football, I’m able to link back to my assignments and write examples to help me achieve higher grades in college. I’ve got a better understanding of the course and it helps me understand more in football and how to look after myself.

What role does football play in your life?

Football has a massive impact on my life in a really positive way. Everything in my life revolves around football, I always have to ensure there are opportunities to play or train. Moving up north was a massive change in my life, but I wasn’t particularly bothered about the move or leaving my family and friends, as long as there were decent football teams I could play for. Luckily, there was. In college we play in Category One, which is the highest college league. There are also many opportunities for me to play for teams such as Durham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle, all of whom play in the WSL or Premier League. My friendship group since moving here has revolved around football. All the friends I’ve made have been through playing football, both in and outside of college.

What’s your advice for girls and women considering getting into football?

If you’re considering getting into football, my advice would be to start at a local team to see whether you like it. It’s a relaxed environment so you’d be able to see whether you enjoy the sport. If you did enjoy it, I’d advise to stay committed and always give 100%. If you have a real passion for the sport, then you could then look into a higher level team to try and pursue a career in football or just improve your performance, but it’s crucial to always ensure you’re enjoying the sport. Don’t let anyone’s opinion stop you from getting into football. Although it’s not equal to men’s football at the moment, there are still many opportunities for women to play football, whether that be for fun or to pursue a career in the sport.

What’s your top tip for Girls’ Football Week?

Don’t be afraid, believe in yourself and achieve your goals.