I first started playing football in the late nineties. I was originally a midfielder. I played for a newly formed team called Medlock Rangers Girls at U11s and in our first season, we were terrible. We were a new team, though, with many players who were new to the sport, so it was to be expected. There was one game where our goalkeeper wasn't available, so I volunteered to replace her. I saved a penalty that day and we won 3-1. It was the ONLY game we won all season, and from then on, I was a goalkeeper. The following season after taking on a few new players we came second in the league. A big improvement on dead last in our debut season!
I stopped playing when I was about 15. Back then there weren't many opportunities for girls and women in the game. Once you got to a certain age, it seemed to be all or nothing. You were either good enough to go pro (which wasn't really pro at the time) or there was nowhere to go. Now, there are so many opportunities for girls and women in the game, it's so exciting to see. We've come so far, but there's still a long way to go.
A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to play football again. I worried that I may have been too old to actually be a regular part of a team, but I just wanted to play. I enjoyed training. Not only was it great for my physical health, but my mental health too. I discovered J4K after I realised that I was going to be training regularly, and seriously, and wanted to replace the cheap generic gloves I'd bought before I knew if I was going to stick with it.
My first pair of J4K gloves was the Boost Pro Negative cut which I got in the "lucky dip" because I wanted to test the brand without committing too much money. It was the best decision I ever made. I still wear them today! There's a little wear and tear, but they're still perfect for training. From then on, I was all in on the brand. I bought a neck warmer, a kit bag, protective base layer and the goalkick return trainer, because that's one area of my game I feel I need to improve on the most.
I'm 35 now and just found a new club with a great group of girls at Stalybridge Celtic who are rebuilding a team after having to withdraw from a league last season. I've been welcomed in with open arms by a family of amazing ladies who just love football. I just bought the Anomaly Neg cut gloves with personalisation ready for the season starting in September, and immediately the comfort, fit, grip and look have sent these to the top of the list. Amazing gloves from an amazing brand that really makes quality affordable for all goalkeepers.
Over the last couple of years I've learned that you're never too old to chase your dreams and do whatever it is that you love! If you have passion, drive and commitment, you can do anything.Thanks