Thanks to you….The show goes on

So after many messages, emails and requests for the show to go on, I’ve decided that the world of women’s football is too addictive to walk away from.

The idea was genuinely to finish up and hand over the baton to others. Balancing the work of the show and Twitter feed, along with a full-time job, has been tough.

However, when you get people within the game (I won’t embarrass anyone by naming them) and followers of the show asking you to carry on, it’s hard to ignore.

It has been especially tough since Hamish stepped down, and I have appreciated people like Alicia Ferguson and players within the game stepping in to fill guest presenter roles.

It hasn’t always been easy to get someone in to fill the void, though, which is why episodes have been sporadic of late.

This is why I have decided to re-brand and re-launch the show next month under a new name and new format. The Women’s Football Podcast will come to an end in a couple of weeks, but a new show with a bigger focus on player interviews will launch.

I will use the brilliant network of contributors, such as Sarah in America, Linda in Sweden, and Brian in Germany, to give us regular updates on what is happening in their respective leagues, so you will still be informed of what is going on.

Thanks for the messages and for the continuing interest – name of the new show will be revealed soon.

New show. New name. New start. It’s all about the players.

KT

Almost time to say farewell

After 18 months, around 80 players, staff and experts interviewed, and 36 shows recorded, the Women’s Football Podcast will record its last show at the end of September. Why I hear some ask, who cares I hear others mumble? Well, I care, and it is for that reason that I started the show in the first place.

I took an interest in women’s football in 2009 after meeting and interviewing Kelly Smith as part of my day job. To this day, Kelly remains a friend of mine, but more importantly, someone who I have huge respect for due to her standing in the women’s game as one of the greats.

My thinking after that was, how can I take more of an interest, and while at the time I had never heard of She Kicks Magazine or Fair Game, as it used to be known, I just couldn’t really find anywhere to follow it.

So, a few blogs and some useful contacts later, alongside my pal Hamish Dufton, we started the Women’s Football Podcast last year. We wanted it to be a professional, but light hearted outlet for people to access information on the women’s game, putting our journalism qualifications to good use.

Looking back, I think we did OK in fairness, but this is 100 per cent down to those who appeared on the show and to the listeners. Without them, we wouldn’t have carried on, genuinely. It wasn’t about us, but was about promoting the game.

I can tell you now that in 18 months, Hamish and I made zero money from the venture, and with trips to Sweden, France and the USA coming out of our, well my (Kieran’s) pocket, a lot of money was spent.

Do I care about the money? Not at all, because along the way I got to meet some incredible people in the women’s game, and it wouldn’t be fair to pick out individuals. I can honestly say that of all the people we interviewed, I liked all of them. None of them were arrogant or difficult to deal with, and what impressed me most, is that they just love playing football/soccer.

So why are you quitting? Well, time is a factor of course, but actually, I just don’t think the show is something people want. We have almost four and a half thousand followers on Twitter, and the stats don’t lie – a quarter of that number listens to the show – sometimes more, sometimes less.

The players who appear on the show, for me, deserve more than that, and I don’t want to ask for their time, when numbers don’t meet what we were hoping for.

It has been a pleasure, it really has, but it hasn’t always been easy.

I will say this, women’s football is always crying out for more coverage, but with the experiences I’ve had, it needs to help itself. Unanswered emails and promised call-backs never received make the job all the more difficult – if I was encountering these issues, I’ve no doubt other journalists are too.

I’ll of course stay involved with women’s football because it has become a drug – a bit of an addiction that is hard to switch off from.  I might write a bit here and there, but more importantly, I’ll continue to follow as a supporter of the game (Undecided what to do about the Twitter account at the moment).

Big thanks to those who listened to a show or read a blog or who just made a positive comment on social media, but most of all, thanks to the players and staff who made the show what it was.

There are some brilliant outlets out there covering the game – make sure you give them, and the players, the support they deserve.

KT

 

Katie Sherwood: Getting back to fitness after baby No.2

Returning to exercise after baby number two hasn’t been as easy as I had anticipated. I am now 21 weeks in and getting back in shape this time round has been mentally and physically challenging.

With husband Jamie

With husband Jamie

Baby No.1
I was 21 when I had Alfie, and at the time I was in peak shape playing ‘soccer’ in America. So to say it was a shock when I found out I was pregnant is a pretty big understatement. The same week I found out, I was due to fly home to play in two international friendlies for Wales against the Republic of Ireland. I consulted with a doctor who gave me the all clear to play. So with the doctors and Jamie’s approval, I flew home, played both friendlies and then flew back to America. I didn’t tell anyone in my family or anyone on camp, including team doctors, that I was pregnant and spent the whole week being sick and trying to keep it quiet! 

Four weeks later I flew back to Wales again to play against Germany in a World Cup qualifier. I was now 12 weeks pregnant. Again the doctor gave me the go ahead to play and once again no one else knew I was pregnant. On the way to the game the coach had to pull over to let me be sick – I blamed it on travel sickness! Germany were one hell of a team, and I was responsible for marking one of Europe’s best strikers at the time, Birgit Prinz. We lost 6-0!! (Prinz scored a hatrick!!)

Taking on German legend Bridget Prinz

Taking on German legend Birgit Prinz


That was my final game that season, in May 2007, and Alfie was born December 2007. By February 2008 I was back playing for Cardiff City Ladies and Wales were still playing in the same campaign I had originally been a part of. Ironically their next game was the away fixture against Germany. I worked my socks off to get selected and I was successful. Again I was responsible for marking the famous Prinz. We lost 4-0. (but Prinz scored 0!)

You may be wondering why this is at all relevant. After having Alfie at 21, regaining fitness and getting back to playing was pretty much a breeze, and 20 weeks later I was putting on that Welsh jersey again. Now at 28, I’m now over 20 weeks post baby with Isabella, and the thought of pulling a jersey on right now is quite daunting! Baby No.2

Pregnant at 21, I maintained fitness and physical activity for as long as I felt fit too. Pregnant at 28, I was totally more relaxed (or lazy!)

When you’ve spent half your life fixating on keeping fit, over training and being disciplined with diet and nutrition, I welcomed being pregnant and letting my body rest. As much as everyone told me I looked great during my pregnancy, my mum broke the news that I was in fact rather large, even describing my ankles as ‘cankles’ and stating ‘you were huge if I’m being honest’ so I knew getting back in shape was not going to be an easy ride.

And to add insult to injury, when I was still pregnant, England international Katie Chapman had given birth to her third child and within four weeks was back on the pitch for Arsenal. There was no way I could compete with that superhuman behaviour! After seeing Katie back on the pitch within four weeks of giving birth, in my head I wanted to jump right back in where I left off, but reality was that just wasn’t going to work for me. It was hard to accept at 28 it was going to be a slower progress towards building a fitness base and I almost felt like a novice to exercise again, and for me, that was hard to accept.

An unconventional piece of gym equipment

An unconventional piece of gym equipment

Back to training
4 weeks: I made a promise to my Dad that I wouldn’t start training until Bella was at least six weeks old, so at four weeks I began power walking with baby. Not only was I power walking, I even pushed my limits with some pram lunges, park bench dips and park bench step ups – when no one was looking – however I did draw the line at interval pram sprints as I don’t think Bella would have appreciated the bumpy ride. 

6 weeks: My first run. And a big reality check! I looked at my stopwatch thinking I had been running a good 15 minutes – it was in fact a demoralising seven. I honestly felt like I was towing a caravan behind me when running or running with weights on my legs! I went home and threw my running shoes in the bin! (A bit extreme but I was feeling demoralised).

12 weeks: Thankfully things were getting better and, slowly but surely, I felt as though I was making steady progress. Even though I wasn’t in work, I still had the full time duties of looking after baby Isabella, on top of the school runs with Alfie, after school activities, cooking, cleaning, bedtime duties etc, etc….so it wasn’t always that simple to drop everything and make time to fit in a gym session or go training.

16 weeks: The obstacle of training over Christmas. Yeovil were ever so kind to send me a lovely training programme to complete over Christmas! Its very easy to use Christmas as an excuse to stop training. But when you read Twitter and see your team mates and your competitors out there training on Boxing Day and New Years Day, there is no excuse not to train.

20 weeks: My first session with Yeovil was a bit daunting. Not only did I feel like the new girl at school, it was my first time kicking a ball in 18 months! However, my new manager, Sarah, hasn’t pressured me at all to get back into training. She has been very supportive in letting me ease myself back in gently. The first session back we agreed to just take part in the warm up and my intention was to just float about. I was quite happy to just be the water girl or a cone! However, once I got started I didn’t want to stop. Being back on the ball was a great feeling, the only problem was that my legs didn’t work as fast as my mind!

We now have about 10 weeks until the FAWSL season begins. If I’m being honest, I really didn’t think that I would be ready for the first part of the season, and my initial thought was to start playing after the summer break.

However, after overcoming the initial frustrations of getting back in shape, training through sore and heavy muscles, fatigue, sleep deprivation and the feeling of ‘am I getting anywhere’ I can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

And with the continued support of my husband, family and manager, I am determined to succeed.  #YTLFC  #AchieveByUnity

photo 5