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Beth Fisher

Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!

Meet our Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ Beth Fisher, ITV Wales Sports Reporter

Beth Fisher, ITV Wales Sports Reporter has been nominated as this month’s ‘Seren Y Mis / Star of the Month’ for her continuous support of players and the league.  

O: How does it feel to be nominated as this month’s ‘Seren y Mis/Star of the month’? 

B:
 It’s a complete surprise if I’m honest! Everything I try and do for this job is to make it easier for everyone coming through, whether female’s or people from different backgrounds. I feel like I’m simply just doing my job and it’s really a privilege to be nominated. 

O: Tell us a bit about your career, starting off with your first love, hockey...

B: Well hockey, goodness! It feels like it was so long ago that I played. It was my first love. I competed for about 15 years and it took me places I never would have gone to and, more importantly, I made friends for life and the skills it taught me, on and off the pitch, have been invaluable. More to the point I just had an amazing time, and of course, it’s an absolute privilege and honour to represent your country and I feel lucky to have sang the anthem on many occasions - it doesn’t get better than that! 

O: How did you find the transition from being on the pitch playing to reporting?

B: In all honesty, reporting probably saved me a little bit, because when I finished hockey I didn’t really know who I was. For so many years you're known as ‘Beth the hockey player’ and that’s kind of what your main focus is, so reporting just kind of replaced that. Starting from the very beginning again in the later stages of my 30’s was at times quite challenging because obviously you’re having to learn everything from scratch and as people probably appreciate, it’s one of those industries where you’ve just got to get things wrong to learn - plus being a sports woman, you’re never satisfied with your performance! So, I guess so many things are the same with being on the pitch and reporting but equally I have a huge love for them both. 

O: What has been your favourite memory from your career so far?

B: It has to be really when I reported for BBC Radio Wales. I was the first woman to commentate on football for them, so that was an incredible honour! Reporting for ITV Wales on TV has been a huge journey and privilege. The first ever TV report I did on the 6 o’clock news will live with me forever, mainly because I was nervous as hell and that feeling of probably being on air for the first time was extraordinary.  

O: How proud do you feel to be a Stonewall sport champion? We love to see support for the LGBTQ+ community within sports but we know there’s still a way to go.

B: My campaigning and being ambassadors for various LGBT+ charities and organisations and my work I do on TV, for me, are really linked. One of the reasons why I got into this industry was to be a visible role model for young girls and boys who may feel a bit different to other people, whether that’s to do with the way they dress or with their sexuality and such. I feel very proud to have the platform I do, even though it’s a very small one, to be able to help others be more comfortable with who they are and, ultimately, that’s all I want people to be is comfortable and happy with who they are. 

O: What would you say to a Woman looking to get into a job in sport media?

B: Come and join us! Come on, there’s not enough of us! So please hurry up, because it’s not great sometimes being the only woman in a press room. There are so many opportunities and I think equally don’t be scared or put off by the lack of females you see in sport media. Obviously there’s the big names like Gabby Logan and Clare Balding and so on, but we need more women. Not just women - but women from diverse backgrounds and heritages to be part of this journey because we can’t just be the same type of woman either. So be brave, be bold! There’s definitely a few of us already doing it who will welcome you and help you, so don’t be afraid, be proud of what you represent and just blinking do it! 

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Holly Broad

Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!

Meet our Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ Holly Broad, Captain of Cyncoed Ladies FC

Holly has been nominated as this month's 'Seren y Mis' due to her charity work during lockdown, raising over £2000 for Ty Hafan, with players, staff, family, friends and elite gymnasts, all joining to help a good cause with the ‘Mega Marathon Month’. 

O: How does it feel to be nominated as the Welsh Premier Women’s League’s ‘Seren y Mis’/ ’Player of the Month’? 

H:
 I’m shocked and flattered to have been nominated as ‘Seren y Mis’. I wasn’t expecting it at all! I’d like to give everyone at Cyncoed LFC and Welsh Gymnastics a mention - it was definitely a team effort! 

O: How did you get in to football? 

H:
 Although I’ve always been a football fan (a lifelong Liverpool supporter!), I didn’t actually start playing football until High School. I was doing competitive gymnastics five times a week and had to persuade my mum to let me start football sessions on my days off! I started by playing at a local club in North Wales (Pen-y-ffordd FC), and then made the move over to play senior football for Tranmere Rovers a few years later before moving down to Cardiff to attend University.    

O: Who inspired you to raise money for Ty Hafan during lockdown and what has it involved? 

H: 
We knew January was going to be a tough month for everyone, with Lockdown, a post-Christmas lull, miserable weather (and no football!). I saw some events and fundraisers on social media that were going to be happening during January, so I floated the idea of completing the distance of a marathon in a month - on foot or bicycle - to the team and some colleagues at Welsh Gymnastics. I thought it would be a great opportunity to keep fit, get outdoors, and challenge ourselves - all whilst raising money for a fantastic cause. Everyone jumped on board and worked hard to keep each other motivated. We made the decision to support Ty Hafan because of all the wonderful work they do across Wales to support children, and their families, who have life limiting conditions. 

O: What’s your best memory with Cyncoed LFC? 

H:
 That has to be winning the League Cup in 2018, as we were the underdogs back then! We had a game plan and stuck to it, and each player dug deep to narrowly beat Cardiff Met and lift the trophy. It was a memorable day which we were able to share and celebrate with our friends and families.  

O: What does the future hold for you? 

H: 
I’m nearing the end of my playing days; I can’t move any further back on the pitch! I’m looking to stay involved in the sport and over the next few seasons transition into more of a coaching role. This season I have started to assist with the newly formed Under 19’s Team at Cyncoed LFC after deciding to start my C Licence last year. I can’t wait to put what I’ve learnt on the course into practice.    

O: What is your hope for Cyncoed LFC? 

H:
 My hope is that we continue to build and improve, both on and off the pitch. Winning more trophies and qualifying for the Champions League are definite targets for us on the pitch. Behind the scenes we have lots of exciting changes and developments in the pipeline too, so watch this space!  

O: What is your hope for the future of the Welsh Premier Women’s League? 

H: 
It’s an exciting period of change for domestic women’s football in Wales too, with the restructure taking place next season. I hope the Welsh Premier Women’s League continues to grow in strength, providing Clubs with opportunities and a platform to attract and develop talented players in Wales. 

Congratulations Holly on being the WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!  

www.cymrufootball.wales/wpwl/   #OrchardWPWL 

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Nicola Anderson

Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!

Meet our Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ Nicola Anderson, Female Coach Education Coordinator at the FAW Trust.

Nicola has been nominated as this month's 'Seren y Mis' due to her mentoring so many female coaches, her passion as a mentor and her support of those on their coaching journey, many of which are within the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League.  

O: So, Nicola, how did you get into football?   

N: I have always loved football since I was a kid. It was a popular sport in our house, and it was something I played all the time, but girls' football was non-existent at the time, so all my opportunities were with boys which I enjoyed as it helped me to improve. My dad was a football coach at Everton FC for many years, and during that time I got injured whilst playing, so at the age of 15 I started taking my coaching badges as well as coaching regularly and I never looked back!  

O: Who inspires you?   

N: My mum has always been my biggest inspiration. She was always pushing me to do what I loved and always ensuring I knew I could do and be what I wanted if I worked hard enough. Her support for me has always been above and beyond. She is the role model for me in everything she did and that still drives me to this day. Another inspiration for me is the players and coaches I have worked with and brought through over the years. They provide me with the motivation to want to do better and provide more opportunities for them, so I feel very inspired when they reach their achievements through the hard work they've put in.  

O: Why do you think it’s important to mentor and inspire those on their coaching journey?  

N: I think everyone needs help and support at one time or another in whatever they do, so to be able to do that for so many coaches over the years is something I find very humbling as a job, but it never really feels like work. Coaches must have someone who can guide them and shape them into what they want to be, not what others want them to be, as being who you are and coaching the way you want is vital for the development of players and helps you enjoy coaching that much more. Mentoring a coach and supporting them to reach goals (sometimes) they never thought they could, is one of the reasons why I do the job and if being that support for them gets them there, then I know we are doing something right.  

O: Do you think more women need to get into coaching?   

N: I think any woman who wants to be a coach or get involved in coaching should do. It is something that has brought me some incredible experiences over the years, and I would want that for any woman out there who wants to do the same. The opportunities are out there now, so much more so than when I started and that is something I take great pride in being a small part of providing. The barriers are down and there is a lot of support out there for women who want to be involved in coaching- you just need to take the first step.  

O: What’s your best memory with FAW?   

N: That is a tough one really as I have so many but certainly from a Coach Education & Mentoring point of view it has to be when we ran the first-ever female-only B Licence Residential Course here in Wales in 2018. It was something that seemed so far away for so long but is by far one of the best things I have ever done. Seeing what that course did for so many female coaches who have gone on to do fantastic things is something I will be forever proud of and it has gone from strength to strength ever since.  

O: What does the future hold for you?   

N: Again, another tough question really as I am currently going through my UEFA Pro Licence course which is something I never ever thought I would do so that itself is the priority right now and from there, who knows! The exciting part is that there are opportunities out there now to aspire to be in and that makes for an exciting future for myself as a female coach and for all those who are coming right up behind me!  

O: What is your hope for the future for Women's football?   

N: My hope is that it continues to grow in all aspects, from the grassroots all the way through to the elite as it is something so many people have worked hard to get it to where it is and continue to work hard to keep making big steps forward for the future.  

Congratulations Nic on being the WPWL 'Seren Y Mis'!    

If you have any interest in coaching or for more information, go to www.fawcourses.com/courses    

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Stuart Summers

Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!

Meet our Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ Stuart Summers, Secretary of Abergavenny Women FC

During these, dare we say it, unprecedented times, grassroots clubs have been hit hard. Stuart Summers, Secretary of Abergavenny Women FC, and this month’s ‘Seren y Mis’ talks about how Covid-19 stopped them in their tracks, but how it gave them a chance to reflect on the previous season and learn lessons on and off the pitch.  

O: How does it feel to be nominated as this month’s ‘Seren y Mis/Star of the Month’? 

S: 
My initial reaction was pleasantly surprised. It’s nice to see all the hard work being put in at the club is being recognised by others. Any award for our club is most welcome as it’s a real team effort...Do we get a trophy as the cabinets are a little bare now? 

O: Has football always been a part of your life? 

S:
 Yes, I've always loved football. My first experiences were going with my father and uncles to watch Exeter City play at St James Park, and I was hooked immediately. I played a little bit, but I would describe my style as enthusiastic rather than gifted. I then took up coaching boys' and girls' football and have stayed involved in the female game for the last 15 odd years. As I've got older, I have gone from player to Coach, Coach to Treasurer and now to Club Secretary and official tea maker. I am eventually aiming for my own reserved parking space at Pen Y Pound and a small statue. 

O: When did you join Abergavenny? 

S:
 I joined Abergavenny Women 4 years ago when my daughter finished university in Cardiff, and she joined this club as a player. I started out as just a parent and supporter, but two years ago was asked to help behind the scenes. The club was re-structuring, and it was all hands to the pump to keep things running smoothly. It was a real baptism of fire in the first season, but things are eventually falling into place now. 

O: How difficult of a situation did Covid-19 present for the club?

S: When we first became aware of the Covid-19 issues we were in a dog fight at the wrong end of the League table, but equally looking forward to a Cup Semi Final against Cardiff. Covid-19 arrived and stopped us in our tracks, but it did us a bit of a favour in some ways as it allowed us time to reflect on the season and learn lessons on and off the pitch. It sounds silly but the lack of football made us all appreciate the game and that in turn galvanised our squad.  In lockdown we appointed a new manager, coaches and support team, made lots of zoom meetings, text and telephone plans for when football would return. We had some useful help and guidance from Ianthe and Lowri at FAW with regards to making the ground safe and reassuring for visiting teams. There have been some enormous changes in the way we do things on match day, but I do feel privileged to be able to carry on playing. 

O: What did you do to overcome it? 

S: To be quite honest, lots of hard work. Early mornings spent scrubbing and cleaning, and a lot of preparations and planning but the key to our success has been without a doubt our club friends and family.  We have fantastic support at the club and most of our regulars agreed to fill out the daily Covid-19 checks and perform match day tasks - everything from cleaning, red and amber security, ball retrievers and helpers. In return, they get to watch the home games and again, it's just helped us underpin our family club values.

Pre-season we organised two away friendly games followed by two home friendly games. The away games gave us the chance to see how other clubs were doing things and pick-up useful ideas. The two home friendlies let us practice with our volunteers, so we were well prepared for the start of the season. Having said that, there's always room for a bit of drama on match day when the batteries run out on the temperature gun, or the wind keeps blowing all the Covid-19 stickers off. 

O: What do you hope for the future of Abergavenny Women FC?

S: The main ambition has always been simple - to keep women's and girls' football alive in our area, to provide players with a good standard of football and coaching without too much travelling, and to continue to run a family based friendly club who produce great players. This season - we hope to finish in the top 3 or 4 in the League and have a Cup run - probably within our capabilities if we can keep players fit and well. Letting my imagination go wild for ten minutes and thinking in the longer term, it would be to win the League and take part in the Champions League. Can you imagine little old Abergavenny Women in the Champions League? They would probably make it into a Disney film. 

Congratulations Stuart and all the best for a winning season! 

www.cymrufootball.wales/wpwl/   #OrchardWPWL

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Woman playing football

Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!

Meet our second Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ Chloe Chivers, forward for Swansea City Ladies.

On the pitch, Chloe’s netted 4 goals in 5 appearances, including a cracker in the Leagues first televised match against Cardiff City and won Sgorio’s goal of the month for October. Off the pitch, we’ve loved seeing Chloe’s personality shine through with her BE Cymru Instagram takeover during Swansea’s Champions League adventure to Apollon, and her post match interview with Sgorio at the start of the season. 

O: How does it feel to be nominated as the Welsh Premier Women’s League’s ‘Seren y Mis’/ ’Player of the Month’?

C: It feels great to have been nominated for Player of the Month, especially since this is my first proper season back playing. This wouldn’t have been possible without the team and the hard work we put in week in week out, both on and off the pitch.

O: How did you get in to football?

C:
I started off playing when I was about 6 years old. I was balancing both rugby and football up until I was 15 but ultimately, I chose football. So far, I think I chose the right sport!

O: Who inspired you/keeps inspiring you?

C:
I didn’t really watch a lot of football growing up as my house was a rugby-oriented house. However, when I got into football my younger brother did too, and we used to enjoy watching Liverpool mainly Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. The Swan's girls and coaches pushed me and helped me a lot coming back from injury but also my family through a tough time.

O: What’s your best memory with Swansea City?

C:
Coming back from injury and winning the League and playing in the Champions League.

O: What does the future hold for you?

C:
To keep playing and enjoying my time with Swansea – and hopefully score more goals and win more trophies!

O: What is your hope for Swansea City?

C:
To win the League, and to compete in the Champions League again next year.

O: What is your hope for the future of the Welsh Premier Women’s League?

C:
That more of our games get covered live by Sgorio and that the League can be made more competitive and have more support and funding.

 

Congratulations Chloe and all the best for a winning season! 

www.cymrufootball.wales/wpwl/   #OrchardWPWL

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Catherine Walsh

Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’!

Meet our first Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ Catherine Walsh, star striker for Cardiff City FC Women.

As part of our ongoing commitment to the women's game, we are pleased and excited to be headline sponsors of the Welsh Premier Women’s League for the fifth year running. 

This season sees us introduce the Orchard WPWL 'Seren Y Mis’ celebrating members of the League and their achievements, passion and commitment. 

Our first Orchard WPWL ‘Seren Y Mis’ is Catherine Walsh, star striker for Cardiff City FC Women. Catherine has been with Cardiff City FC Women since 2012 and she re-joined for their 2018/19 campaign. She also kicked off this season being part of the team for the recent match against Swansea City Ladies - the first WPWL match EVER to be shown live on TV.

Catherine was nominated as this month’s ‘Seren Y Mis’ because of how she stood up to online bullies through the abuse she received through social media after the live match show on TV. She didn’t let it diminsh the team’s accomplishment though and has inspired so many women and girls across the game.

O: So, Catherine, how did you get in to football?

C: I started playing football in primary, just on the playground and getting involved with the other boys. Around about the time I was 6/7 years old, I joined the boys' team at Canton Rangers. It was myself and my sister, and we were the only girls on the team at the time. From there, we eventually joined the development programme at Cardiff City. I eventually joined the all-women's team.

O: Who inspired/keeps inspiring you?

C:
The reason I got in to football was more for just my genuine love for football, and the fact that I have two older brothers, one who played rugby for Wales, and my Dad also played rugby. We are a very competitive, sporty family, and I think that’s where I get my drive from.

O: What has been your stand-out memory during your time with Cardiff City FC Women?

C: Winning the league in 2013. After that I was meant to go to the Championship, but unfortunately, I got injured so I couldn’t, but I was still proud of the club’s achievement.

O: What does the future hold for you? 

​C: I see myself staying at Cardiff City. I’m 26 now, so I feel like I'm at, or past the peak. I’ve played for the national team, in America as well as other countries, so I've have had quite a beneficial career.

O: What is your hope for the future for Cardiff City FC Women?

C: I’d love for us to go on and win a league again – for us to start pushing on for the title, cups, in two semi-finals, hopefully get into a few finals. We’ve been so close the last few years, but we need to be pushing on. We were in two semi-finals before the last season ended early.

O: What is your hope for the Welsh Premier Women’s League?

C: The league needs to become more about not just the top 4 teams – it needs to focus on the lower teams, with more backing for the smaller clubs, not just the top. It’s important to support those grassroots clubs and they need to know that they have an opportunity to progress.

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