Kayley Smith - Player (Sunderland West End Ladies)
THIS WEEK WE WILL BE CELEBRATING DIFFERENT INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN IN OUR COUNTY.
TODAY IS THE TURN OF KAYLEY SMITH, A PLAYER WITH SUNDERLAND WEST END LADIES!
Role: Player (Sunderland West End Ladies)
Tell us about how you got involved in football?
I grew up with a brother and a boy best friend who was my next-door neighbour who both played football so I used to play with them. I was quite a tomboy so I hung around with the boys at primary school and played football with them but it wasn't until I got to secondary school that I started to play for a girls football team. I was very sporty and I played netball and hockey too, but football was my favourite so I focused on that and I found a local girls team to play for when I was about 12/13.
What do you enjoy about playing football?
I have had different reasons at different stages. Currently (if I ever get to play again) I enjoy the most is having some me time, a time where I can relax, spend time with my friends and do something that I enjoy. I am very competitive, maybe not so much now, but I have always played to win and with the teams that I have played with, this has always been a common theme.
What are your greatest achievements in football and why?
My memory isn't great so picking one is too hard, but during my time playing football I have won many league titles, tournaments and awards at presentation night. My most recent achievement would be with Sunderland West End where we progressed as far as we ever have in the FA cup and we beat a team away who was 2 leagues higher than ourselves. We all travelled down expecting anything from the game but we fought hard and played outstanding and I was so proud of how everyone played as we really out done our selves.
What is your best memory in football?
I have so many great memories in football. My first team I was 12/13 years old I think when I first joined and it was great and I gained some very good friends from that team. I remember our first season in the women's league when we were just kids and we were playing against women twice as big as us, but we still managed to do very well. At secondary school we were the first girls' team and we won the county cup and progressed all the way to the semi finals of the English Schools League Cup. I played for Northumbria University and we won the league and had many great away journeys, but most recently my favourite memory was when we got to play against Newcastle United and I was lucky enough to have my daughter as mascot alongside me
What are your goals in the sport?
My goal is just to keep playing for as long as my body will let me. I still don't feel too old to retire yet, even though I am now playing with girls who are half my age lol.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in the game?
My main obstacles have been when coming back after a couple of injuries and coming back after having 2 children. It has definitely been harder to train and play as obviously my children come first and sometimes I don't always have childcare to be able to leave them to play.
What advice would you give to females wishing to get involved in football?
Just do it. Best thing ever is being part of a team where you can socialise and play something that you all enjoy. There are so many female football teams out there for all levels to get involved with.
What advice would you give to females wishing to get involved in admin roles within the game?
Without admin all these clubs wouldn't exist so I would definitely encourage it.