Jane Watkinson – Co-founder, Secretary and Director
Jane has played football since she was very small, which was her biggest passion growing up. Jane has worked in the community sector for several years, utilising her BA in Sociology and MA in Politics with Research Methods, driven by the desire to help with creating a more inclusive, equal and fairer society, especially with historically disadvantaged and marginalised areas and groups. For Jane, AFC Unity is a merging of these two interests, playing and promoting women’s football and helping create an alternative football club that makes a difference in society through furthering social justice and creating positive women role models. Jane helps with administration, research, evaluation and fundraising for on and off the pitch activities including our community work and projects and is also a qualified FA Level 1 Coach.
Jay Baker – Co-founder, Manager, Chair and Director
Jay Baker has been managing non-profit organisations for nearly 15 years and is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, has a Level 2 Certificate in Managing Voluntary and Community Organisations, a Level 3 Award in Education and Training (QCF), and is Youth Work Skills Level 2 and FA Level 1 Coaching qualified. Born in Doncaster, he grew up supporting Doncaster Rovers Belles and Doncaster Rovers, where he became a director of the Viking Supporters Cooperative, and is passionate about football’s roots in its community. As Manager of AFC Unity, he not only oversees the club’s Business & Development Plan and project activities, but also the team and its strategies. He has devised the club’s Football Philosophy and, drawing on his experience in the community sector, pushed through a completely different approach to coaching befitting the alternative ethos of AFC Unity, whose incredible third place finish in Division Three in their first-ever season – and then consolidation in Division Two – exceeded the wildest expectations. A champion of the underdog, Jay’s commitment to feminism, fair play, community spirit and camaraderie cross over into his managerial approach and he has relished the challenge of building a club, and team, from the ground up.
Sophie Smith – Welfare Officer and Director
Sophie started playing football aged 8 but only joined a team when she started university, playing for the Sheffield Medics Women’s team for 6 years. After a few years away from football Sophie joined AFC Unity when the club was only a few months old. Over the years she has become more involved and is now the club’s joint Welfare Officer and an FA Level 1 qualified coach. Sophie works as a GP in Sheffield and loves that she can combine helping others with her passion for football, regularly taking part in the Football for Food campaign and other community activities run by the club.
Jaimee Reeve – Treasurer and Director
Jaimee was born and raised in Newcastle. She has always been around football and grew up playing with her older brother. She is a Newcastle United supporter (of course!) After playing very little football in her early 20s she began playing for AFC Unity in 2016. Jaimee initially played for the AFC Unity Jets before moving to the first team. Jaimee is passionate about the community ethos of the club, such as the Football for Food campaign and empowering women through Solidarity Soccer. Jaimee believes in supporting wellbeing through exercise, positive relationships and role modelling.
Claire Watkinson – Advisory Group Member
Claire Watkinson is on AFC Unity’s Advisory Group providing advice and support in multimedia and marketing. Claire is a wedding filmmaker who runs Storytellers Wedding Studio. Claire is also the founder and Managing Director of social enterprise E.D.E.N Film Productions. E.D.E.N is an award-winning social enterprise that believes in equality and tackling the discrimination and inequality the LGBT+ community still experience. Claire has a BA (Hons) Degree in Contemporary Film and Video and has worked as a freelance filmmaker for 5 + years working on a range of projects such as eBay corporate shoots, the first same-sex marriage in Sheffield, a short film that was selected for Cannes ‘The Short Corner’ and various other productions including weddings, events, corporate shoots and short films. Claire also self-shot/directed a feature documentary, ‘Living With Me And My OCD’.
Ben Wilson – Advisory Group Member
Ben Wilson is part of AFC Unity’s Advisory Group providing advice and support in finance matters. Ben is a 2017 Sheffield Hallam University Accounting and Finance graduate who also has a big love for football. His Dad started taking him to Leeds United games at the age of 6 and has loved the game ever since. He also played growing us as a goalkeeper for Garforth Rangers and Sherburn White Rose. Ben found AFC Unity through Venture Matrix at Sheffield Hallam University and worked with them on a project in his final year of studies. He looks forward to working with the club going forward and helping with any financial matters the club may have.
Rebecca Kelk – Advisory Group Member
Rebecca Kelk is part of AFC Unity’s Advisory Group providing advice and support in finance matters. Rebecca is a 2017 Accounting and Finance Graduate from Sheffield Hallam University. Having played football and following her team from a young age, she loves the way it brings the best out of people and promotes a real sense of comradery. Having found AFC Unity through Venture Matrix, Rebecca took part in a finance project in her final year of studies. Rebecca is looking forward to working with AFC Unity in the future and assisting in any way possible.