To celebrate the first-ever Women’s Sport Week taking place this week, Brighton & Hove Albion’s media team have taken the opportunity to recognise our very own sportswomen in a series of news stories. Click here to find out more about Women’s Sport Week 2015.
Here we interview Albion women captain Jay Blackie and the influences that the legendary Premier League striker Teddy Sheringham and England Women international Casey Stoney have had on her career to date.
She told seagulls.co.uk, “Once I started playing football in school, I then got more into watching football and started to support Manchester United - which is different to the rest of my family.
“I used to look up to the 1999 treble-winning team which had the likes of David Beckham and Paul Scholes, but someone like Teddy Sheringham is a player I particularly looked up to, admired and still do to this day.
“His work rate and desire showed on the pitch and he still enjoyed playing the game as he got older and acted as a role model to the younger players in that 1999 team; I thought he was amazing.”
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Sheringham holds the record for being the oldest-ever outfield player to score in the Premier League for West Ham United at the age of 40 and Blackie explained his specific qualities which she took inspiration from.
“He had sheer grit and determination and always played for the badge that he was wearing and acted as a role model for the younger players coming through the club. As I’m getting older, I like to think I do that as well when I play for Brighton.
“You can’t beat scoring goals and I grew up as a striker until I was 18. Teddy was a natural finisher and had so much confidence when he was playing.
“The partnerships he also had with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Andy Cole were not something I thought you could beat.”
Blackie then started to look up to a female role model in the game as her own career began and described the influence which England Women international defender Casey Stoney had when the two players were both at Charlton Athletic.
“I first started to take note of the senior programmes in women’s football when I joined the Charlton academy.
“Casey Stoney was the captain of Charlton at the time and was well respected by my coach Keith Boanas, who I still look up to now.
“Casey did some coaching with us as well and it was only then that I realised how much fitness and determination you needed to compete at a high level in the women’s game.
“At that point, I looked at what I needed to do to play at a higher level and realised it was something I wanted to do. I’ll always look at Casey in that way.”
Finally, the club skipper praised the Women’s Sport Week initiative and stressed how vital it is to honour women who make such a great contribution to their respective disciplines.
“I understand how important is to promote and respect the women that are out there. It’s not always as easy as the men in any sport as women have got to work, bring up kids and raise a family as well.
“It’s not easy to do that, so it’s important to appreciate the effort which women put in to achieve a goal in sport.”
Brighton & Hove Albion will be conducting open trials for the senior women’s teams on 28th June ahead of the 2015/16 season. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.