With the season set to start for Aberystwyth Ladies, Goalkeeper Katie Christopher has said she ‘cannot wait to get back playing regularly’ again, writes Steven Brookes
Katie is a highly rated young goalkeeper and despite being aged just 18 is already a regular starter at the club.
“I first joined Aberystwyth at the start of the 2015/16 season but after a few games I didn't feel ready to play for a Welsh Premier Women's League Side, so I moved back to my local team Llandrindod Ladies. At the end of that season I had gained a lot of playing time and felt that I was ready for the Welsh Prem again, so signed in the 2016/17 season. I feel that I developed massively and quickly last season, being the only keeper in the squad I gained plenty of game time, playing every single minute of every game Aberystwyth played.”
Last season the Club sadly suffered relegation from the Welsh Premier Women’s League but Aber did at least finish with some silverware, winning the Central Wales Cup for the fifth successive time.
“Last season we were unlucky. I thought we had played so well for the majority of the season, just unfortunate not to score as many goals as we'd have liked. I do feel like we made up for the season by winning the CWFA Cup, and that was made even better by having the girls I coach at Llandrindod Junior Girls Football Club as mascots for the game. The coaches were great last season, they've been very flexible and understandable regarding the travelling to training. Having Bones and Steve there to help me with keeper training whilst Ray is coaching the outfield players has been a huge benefit, not many clubs get to have their own goalkeeper coach, and I have 2.”
Even after Aber’s season had finished, Katie had no time to rest.
“When the Ladies season finished, the Junior Girls season was still going, so I was flat out with coaching, as well as doing my A level exams. I had a total of 2 weeks where the season ended (for the girls) and pre-season started (for the ladies) so it's been non-stop as usual.”
It looks like 2017-2018 will be a big season for the 18-year-old on and off the pitch.
“Next season for me is going to be interesting, I am due to go to the University of Gloucestershire in September to study Physical Education and coaching. I am still going to play for Aberystwyth as much as I can, traveling to the away games shouldn't be too bad as they're all in South Wales. I hope we can go straight back up to the Welsh Premier Women's League, where we belong. This isn't only important for Aberystwyth, but for the whole of Central Wales, Aberystwyth are role models for the whole region, and we want to show what players can actually achieve by playing in the highest league in Wales.”
The young Aber keeper still believes there is still things that need to be done to improve football in the local area.
“I do lots of coaching within Central Wales, so I can see first-hand, the struggles of Female football in the area. CWFA have set up a committee which focuses on Women and Girls. I am lucky to be part of this committee. In Powys, there is a girl’s 'league' which is thriving and this produces players to go on to senior football, the problem here is there is a lack of senior women’s teams. Hopefully in a few months things will start to kick off again. The Aberystwyth area is slightly different, I believe their problem is the lack of a girl’s league, this means that the senior clubs struggle to recruit players as they have no feed clubs.”
The new season will start soon for Aber and despite relegation, Katie is still enjoying life with the Aber Ladies team.
“The best thing about playing for Aber in my opinion is the other players. I'm not local to Aberystwyth so it was quite hard for me to fit in but they are such a great bunch of girls and they made me feel so welcome, and include everyone in everything. I honestly cannot wait to get back playing regularly, I love the game, I don't know what I'd do without football. Playing with the Aber girls is so enjoyable too!”
If you would like to join Aberystwyth Ladies please speak to one of the coaches at the club or email email@example.com