Squad

14

Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘I got involved in football with the sudden realisation it’s now or never!’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘Positive ethos, equality, freedom.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘Positive media coverage, more women, more funding and Jay Baker on national TV!’

Random fact: ‘I speak fluent French (sorry, boring – do not include that!)’

What she brings to the team: ‘Enthusiasm.’

 

16

Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘I was brought up by my dad from a young age and he would always take us to the park with a football. From that point on, I would spend as much of my free time as possible kicking a ball, until I became a teenager…’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘AFC Unity stands out from the crowd by being an accepting, welcoming team that encourages growth and improvement even if it means making mistakes, which is a healthier attitude than can be found at many other clubs.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘Women’s football needs more publicity.’

Random fact: ‘I speak Russian and have lived in Russia for a year.’

What she brings to the team: ‘I think I bring an unshakeable faith in our team and the belief that our unique approach to football and teamwork will take us very far.’

 

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Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘I’m from a very large Brazilian family; was surrounded by brothers playing football with whatever round object they would find, or make, to kick and play (not always a “ball”!) They always included me when playing “peladinhas.” I had never played anybody else but my brothers during my childhood. When I realised football was not for “girls” because none of my friends played football, I felt a bit embarrassed to play outdoors, so we (brothers and I) would still play in our bedroom. I was about 15 when I decided to play volleyball, and stopped football. I always loved football and I’ve been looking for a group to play for since last year. I think it was in March of 2016 when I was listening to the radio and I heard Ruth Johnson from FURD talking about women’s football, so I did not think twice before joining it. I have just joined AFC Unity and I’m enjoying it.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘At first I thought AFC Unity was just about playing football, but the more I get to know its philosophy and ethos, the more impressed I get. A club that promotes unity, positivity, inclusion and integrity the way AFC Unity does makes it unique and alternative.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘I think it needs more women (and men) that love and believe women’s football is as good and entertaining as men’s, just like the Olympics are showing. It should have more investments and promotion from the government and media.’

Random fact: ‘My first flight was from Brazil to America in a huge airplane…Boeing 777…and I was invited to visit the pilot cabin. I was in the World Trade Centre (Twin Towers) 2 days before the attack!’

What she brings to the team: ‘Carnival, football, and “samba”!’

 

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Seasons with AFC Unity: 3

Soccer background: ‘For me, it’s the game itself that interested me. It’s fast, intriguing, and can be played by both men and women what ever their size, as long as they know the rules and are physically fit. I started playing football during my Primary School years. That’s when we were taught the rules and some simple tricks on how to play the game during our Physical Education Lessons. And so from Primary School through to College I always went for football during sports days. Because I love and enjoy the game so much, I played competitively for my school team in High School and College.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘It’s different from other football clubs. They are so welcoming, and full of positivity; you feel you belong in a team, safe and relaxed. And its focus is not only on football on the pitch, but off the pitch, and the good of the wider community as well as promoting women’s football – coming together and helping the community, helping each other as a team through unity.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘Women’s football needs a lot of media coverage and more good sponsors in terms of money.’

Random fact: ‘I’m a Christian.’

What she brings to the team: ‘Colour, a positive attitude, and my competitiveness!’

 

26

Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘I got involved in football because it made me feel happy.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘It’s a club with a social conscience. Although I love watching football, it can be a hostile environment. Along with organisations such as FURD, Football Beyond Borders, Football V Homophobia and clubs such as Republica Internationale, Clapton Ultras etc., AFC Unity opens the possibility of football being associated with socially progressive views. Change may be slow but AFC Unity is part of the solution. It’s also welcomed older women with less footballing experience (like me) and encouraged us to develop our skills until we are ready to register as a player – what other local club does that?’

What the women’s game needs: ‘To not be seen as an add-on to men’s football. You can enjoy both, or just enjoy women’s football. It would be great to see women’s football progress without making the mistakes of the men’s game, so there is investment from grassroots up and fair wages for the professional players without alienating or pricing fans out.’

Random fact: ‘Me and two friends sing in a three part harmony trio called “The Bints.” We have a CD which we sell in aid of a dog rescue charity – let me know if you want one!’

What she brings to the team: ‘Energy, and a strong desire to spoil opponents’ attacks!’

 

27Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘I have a younger brother and we used to play football out in the street and backyard. Growing up there were no girls’ teams around so I had to play with my brother and his friends, as my friends were not into football. About eighteen years ago I started playing five-a-side football and in a five-a-side league. Earlier this year I played in the FA Peoples Cup, again five-a-side in the female veterans’ league, and we were runners up.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘Everyone is encouraged to try new skills and to never be afraid of making mistakes. It’s such a friendly team to be involved with.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘More media coverage. After the Women’s World Cup there was a lot more interest in the women’s game, and that needs to be maintained.’

Random fact: ‘I’ve got an allotment.’

What she brings to the team: ‘Commitment and an ability to keep running till the end of the match – and I want to keep on learning and improving my game.’

 

31Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘As a child growing up in the 60’s, I loved to play football and could be found, every playtime, kicking a ball around the playground. Progression to Secondary Education in the early 70’s didn’t dampen my enthusiasm, but unfortunately, the Headteacher at the time decided that it was not “ladylike” to play football and I was banned! I therefore took up hockey and played in goal for my school team, Sheffield and South Yorkshire. I had a season ticket for Sheffield Wednesday as a child and have been a faithful supporter since the 60’s – even when I lived in London! When I moved away from Sheffield in the early 80’s to do voluntary work and then teacher training, I didn’t find any other opportunities to play football. I was keen to teach my children to play football, but none of them share this interest! 35 years later, I’m back playing football after being re-introduced via 5-a- side with Nunny’s Funky Boots. When I tore my calf muscle, I decided to play in goal as I didn’t need to run as much! The rest, as they say, is history.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘AFC Unity is unique in its all-round appreciation of the players – encouragement without undue pressure. It also has great ethics and I love the emphasis on community involvement.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘More publicity and support for games.’

Random fact: ‘I appeared on ‘Opportunity Knocks in the 70’s with the Sheffield Youth Jazz Orchestra.’

What she brings to the team: ‘Enthusiasm, age (experience?!) and a desire to improve. As a keeper, my dream is to keep a clean sheet!’

 

32

Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘I started playing football with my older brothers’ kickabouts in the local park. I then joined a local junior side – aged 9 at the time, I was the only girl at the club. I then joined Sheffield Wednesday under 14’s and stayed with them until 16. Then there was then a long gap in my football playing. I started playing five a side again a few years ago and did some coaching for a disability football team when I got my Level 1 coaching badge. While abroad I played Gaelic Football and enjoyed being part of a competitive team again and was keen to get back to 11-a-side football on my return to the UK.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘The atmosphere at AFC Unity is welcoming for players of all abilities and experience levels. I think it’s fantastic to have women with so many varied backgrounds involved in football. There is a strong community spirit in the club.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘I think one of the things women’s football (and women’s sport in general) needs is more media coverage and exposure. Women are very successful in sport often doing very well in tournaments compared to their male counterparts and this should be celebrated more, so young girls and women can see strong role models.’

Random fact: ‘I’ve lived in Malaysia for the last three years.’

What she brings to the team: ‘Enthusiasm and a positive attitude! I also hope to bring some strength and experience; I think I have a decent level of football knowledge. Also am deceptively quick for my size!’

 

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Seasons with AFC Unity: 1

Soccer background: ‘As a child in Canada I played soccer and a variety of other sports before narrowing my focus to swimming. Since my swimming career ended, I looked into getting back into team sports and dabbled in a variety of recreational co-ed teams, including soccer. Since I recently moved to the UK, I was looking for another way to get into some fun team sports and I found AFC Unity. I’m excited to enhance my skills and grow now that I am playing and training with a real football team.’

How Unity is an “Alternative Football Club”: ‘AFC Unity are great in telling you what you excel at, as well as kindly offering pointers to improve your weaknesses. Everyone is supportive and wants you to succeed.’

What the women’s game needs: ‘I was lucky to be living in one of the host cities for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. It was so great to be able to go to the games live and have the stands packed with fans. But if you wanted to follow games in other cities it was nearly impossible. I remember being at a pub and watching darts or poker when women’s football games were on. That never happened with the Men’s Cup the year before. Women can provide a fun and entertaining sport to watch too, if given the chance. Kids need those good female role models too.’

Random fact: ‘I’m a scientist with a genetics background. I’m currently trying to clone and create a Pokemon, but attempts so far have been unsuccessful. I hope to someday have my very own Bulbasaur, though if not I guess I’ll always have my fruit flies to keep me company.’

What she brings to the team: ‘I love a good race, and so I’ll chase down any player that gets past me. No attack will go unchallenged.’