GB adds up for Spalding
Chloe Spalding – a first year PhD Applied Mathematics student – will line up alongside 44 of her team-mates (including 15 other Lions) in a week’s time when she dons the red, white and blue of Great Britain for the inaugural Women’s European Championships, taking place in Granada, Spain (1st – 9th August).
Spalding only started playing football last October, but it was clear from an early stage that she had great potential, her Lions’ Defensive and Great Britain’s Special Teams’ Coach James Branagh thought so too: “Chloe has great athleticism and coupled with a hunger to learn and improve she quickly blossomed into a fantastic player. Her dedication and hard work has really paid off and the club are incredibly proud of her Great Britain selection. Next year, if she continues with the same level of focus and endeavour, I’m sure she’ll become one of the leagues most feared shutdown DBs.”
We found a few minutes to catch-up with the promising rookie Cornerback to find out how she came to be playing football in the first place and what she’s looking forward to most about achieving Great Britain honours:
How did you get into football? CS: Simply put the Lions’ football stand was opposite the dodge ball stand at the University’s Sports Fresher’s Fair so I wandered over and met Phoebe [Shecter] who gave me a leaflet on the team. I went to a taster session and was quickly hooked – it was refreshing to see such a diverse group of women working as a team and everyone was so friendly, which of course helped.
How have you enjoyed your first year of Lions football? CS: I think a high for me was the Sapphire [domestic club competition] Finals day as both North and South teams were together at the same venue for the first time all season. Both teams performed amazingly and my younger brothers and sister were there watching with my mum and Nanna – to have them cheering along was great.
What were your aspirations for the season? CS: I just wanted to play in one game but by February I’d already travelled to France with the Lions to play Les Sparkles, so after then I wanted to just improve as much as I could and support my team across the Sapphire Series.
What other sports do you play? CS: Dodge ball. Birmingham’s women’s team is ranked first in university standings and fourth nationally and I’ve been lucky enough to be the team’s President too – they’re a great bunch of people. I also made the national squad last year so that was pretty special.
How excited are you about representing your country in the first ever Women’s European Championships? CS: Very. I can’t wait to put the GB jersey on and be part of the team. It’s been a tough few months for me personally and some of the Birmingham players have really inspired me to never give up so to stand next to those guys and now my new team-mates too, in Spain, is going to be very special, I will be very proud indeed.
..and after the Championships, what does the future hold? CS: I’ll still be in Birmingham, training with the Lions for Season 3 and hopefully getting involved in spreading the word about Women’s Football too.
A Lion ready to rock and roll by the sounds of it. Good luck in Spain Chloe – bring one home for #yamb
Image courtesy of, and with thanks to, Luke Plastow and Plastow Photography.