Schecter proves a surging force
Linebacker Phoebe Schecter is not the first woman in the country to play in a men’s senior football team but she is the first Lion to do so, donning red, white and blue for Staffordshire Surge this weekend ahead of her debut appearance against Leicester Falcons in a National Conference, Central Division match-up.
With both teams unbeaten (2-0) it’s all to play for, and that Schecter is starting says it all (at Safety). We grabbed a few minutes with the super-busy first lady of football to find out a bit more about her exciting new venture.
Hey Pheebs, so tell us how you got involved with the Surge and how it came about that you’re kitting up for their men’s team tomorrow?
PS: I met Surge Coach, Mark Finney, when we both did our Level 2 [coaching qualification] back in December 2015; at the time he mentioned the desire for the club to have a youth and women’s team so when our paths crossed again, when the Cheshire Cavaliers teamed up with the Surge to start the aforementioned teams, I jumped at the chance to get involved in a coaching capacity.
Shortly after that the club’s coaching staff offered me a Special Teams Co-ordinator role for the senior team and whilst a couple of the guys would suggest I kitted up for them it wasn’t the right time to contemplate it as I was in the middle of my Lions’ season .
The topic kept coming up though right?
PS: Ha, yes it did, after the finals had finished this time. I knew if I played that I wanted it to be a team decision, for everyone to be happy and comfortable with the proposition, so the question was put to all the Surge’s members and coaches, and the response that came back was a resounding yes which was awesome and represents how forward thinking and open the Surge are as a club.
How’s the training been going?
PS: We train every Sunday and have recently installed a mid-week session too. It’s all going really well and there’s loads of support for and from the guys.
Are you worried about being injured, playing against men?
PS: I’ll be honest I’m not worried at all. If you think like that and let it get into your head then you will hold back and not perform to your best, potentially leaving you more prone to getting hurt or freezing up. I want the team (and our opponents) to treat me like any other player on the field.
What do you hope to get out of this experience?
PS: I’m hoping the exposure to a more physical and fluid version of the game will give me that extra edge when it comes to playing for Great Britain and the Lions. Playing Football is all about reading the game quickly so I need to be able to fluently read the offensive line, in order to be a better defensive player. The fitness aspect too of playing 11’s against men can only benefit my game too. But equally I hope that I can also bring something to the Surge: my experience, energy and aggression is something I hope to share in equal measure.
What are your expectations of your first game?
PS: I just want to make sure I go out there and do my job as a player and as one of the defensive captains – which is an incredible honour for me – as a player I don’t want to let anyone down but I’ve also got to stay focused as I’ll still be responsible for coaching Special Teams. Overall though I’m excited, a bit anxious as you’d expect, but I can’t wait to get on the field with the team. I’ll definitely have their back and I know they’ll have mine which is a great feeling and testament to the positive attitude the Surge has to football, diversity, opportunity and the sport itself.
May we take this opportunity to wish Phoebe and her Surge teammates all the best for their game, kick off is 2.30pm tomorrow and the game takes place at Longton Rugby Club if you’d like to show your support.
Image with thanks to and © The Podyum.