1) You have been playing football at a very high level since 2005. Has it always been football for you or did you start in a different area?
Ummm football! I did pretty much every sport at school; I was quite good at the 100m. I have an older brother so I wanted to play football. He is five years older than me so I wanted to beat him. So yeah football has always been on the table.
2) Hannah and I are going to run the Grand Canyon in May. We are looking at rebranding the blog more towards training for purpose and not just to being aesthetically ‘fit’. As an athlete yourself do you ever find yourself training for body image instead of sporting purpose?
I mean body image is everywhere…everyone wants a good body. The intensity that you train at in football is like so just difficult that you get so much out of it fitness wise. You cover so many aspects of fitness; stamina, speed, strength…there is so much it covers all bases. And really from a fitness point of view you are fitting it all in one training session.
3) Is there an element of your training you prefer? Is it the strength side of things or are you more into the skills?
Ummm well anyone that watches my videos and stuff can see that I am really into the skills. But I actually really enjoy the gym.
4) We’ve discovered along the way that training for purpose often goes hand in hand with achieving the aesthetic goals. Do you find you are in your best physical and metal shape when you have a goal in mind?
Yeah once you’ve got whatever target you want to achieve, I mean we have targets as a team and then you have your personal targets. So for me it would be to improve on my speed endurance. I am defiantly more speed which is a bit more repetitively which makes it a little more difficult, so that is primary my target. And it’s easy really once you have that target you are going to go for it. And the luxury is that you have everything for you to be able to get there. So if you are struggling to achieve it then there is someone there to help you.
4) We are looking to inspire people to train and get fit because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. We want them to set their own challenges be it big or small. We’re not asking them to play for England or run the GC straight away! What would be your top tips when reaching for a set goal?
I’d just say that if you enjoy it…I mean I know gym and that do boxercise classes and stuff like that. If you can, just go and play sport. It is competitive you can work hard. If you can go to the gym and lift weights then do it great, I mean I really enjoy it. If you want to go and do something then go and play badminton or squash or something that has some meaning. For some people they will get much more of a sense of achievement out of it. So I would say have a team target and a personal goal within a sport you will be more likely to achieve it than going it alone.
5) Hannah and I find having a partner the best motivation hence we train together all the time. As much as I want her to succeed, I also don’t want her to be better than me… a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone right? Do you have a partner in crime or are you team through and through?
When we go to the gym we do a lot of stuff, so a lot of it is very personal to you. Are there certain people I lift out with no, but are there people I would like target to train on their level then yes. Katie Chapman works really really hard at Chelsea, ummm Millie Bright. I don’t mind, I do really like work with people but I’m not bothered who I work with. I am a big believer in working as a team.
6) So now you have achieved you goal of playing for Chelsea and playing for England what are your next aims? Do you just plan on maintaining and staying as you are or is there something else you have set your focus on?
Umm I want to win everything! I mean I have my own individual targets of scoring more goals and things like that. But actually fitness wise, if we are talking about fitness, I am never going to be a box to box player but I’ll keep working on the endurance side. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, to be honest, I am never truly satisfied. So just everything even if it something that I am good at I still want to get better at it…I want to be the best in the world!
7) Just to quickly touch on women in sport because we know it’s something us women are keen to get to the bottom of. Do you find that women’s football is eventually starting to get there in terms of achieving the same respect male players receive? I know you have spent time playing in the US where womens soccer is almost bigger than the mens. Do you think it is on the rise here in the UK?
I am playing in England now even though I had the opportunity to go pro in the US. Playing out there the crowds are unbelievable but there is just something about England, it is just the best place to be. Women’s football, and the amount of attention we are now getting is really amazing and we hope that it just keeps on rising and rising. I just think at Chelsea, the way we play, I just always think that if there are these people coming to watch you’ve got to give them a show. We have to play good football, we have to make it entertaining to keep the interest. But people keep coming back, I mean there are not a lot of people [compared to the men’s games], but there is more than we were ever used to. Before it was more of the regular fans but we are seeing more and more new people coming to support, I think social media has impacted that.
8) Scrolling through your social media you get a lot of young girls commenting on your skills videos saying how much you inspire them. Do you think that connection to the younger generation will impact women’s football?
It unbelievable! I work with kids, I coach boys and girls, we are all now celebrity status to them now. They look at us and they don’t know what to say. I didn’t have that as much when I was younger, but now the kids they just look at you and you are actually their inspiration. Their reaction is completely unbelievable. Going to the states I couldn’t believe when the US players come on to the pitch like everyone was screaming. Even coaching kids now I can play in the FA cup final go an coach my kids like 4 days later and they all walk on to the pitch and just stare at you and they just don’t know what at say. It is so rewarding, you just don’t realise that is where it is going now in this country…it is just so unbelievable!
Thank you for your time Gemma and giving us an insight into the world of women’s football!