As Vision ICT is sponsoring the Portsmouth Ladies Beach Soccer Club this year, we thought we would let them borrow our blog page and tell us what it is like playing for the current most successful Ladies Beach Soccer Club in England. They will be writing four blog posts for us in total before, during and after their competition so keep an eye out for their posts.
My name is Gemma Hillier and I play beach soccer for Portsmouth Ladies BSC and England. I have had a long, successful career playing grass football for Portsmouth Ladies where I have recently been entered into the official men’s clubs Hall of Fame for my services to Portsmouth Football Club. I played for Portsmouth for 17 years, 10 of those years I was lucky enough to be captain. As a ‘Pompey fan’ and season ticket holder for many years of my life, my main highlights of being a Portsmouth player was getting to play at Fratton Park twice, winning the Southern Premier League, and getting to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. I started playing beach soccer 6 years ago, but have only trained and taken it more seriously for the past three years. Last year, I was the top goal scorer at the European Cup, representing England, scoring 6 goals in 3 games.
As Portsmouth Ladies Beach Soccer Club, we have entered the ‘Euro Winner’s Cup’, which is the Champions League of beach soccer for the past 2 years. In our first year, we came fifth, losing to Berlin in the final few seconds of the game, and last year finishing second, again losing our lead in the final 18 seconds of the game to Swiss side Havana Shots. We had a number of new players to the game in our squad last year, but our vigorous strict training regime meant we were not only technically one of the best teams in Europe, but also one of, if not the fittest. Unfortunately due to a lack of concentration, we lost our one goal lead in the final then again in extra-time.
The majority of the squad that play for Portsmouth Ladies BCS also play for England, where we are currently European Champions after beating Switzerland in the final, in Portugal last July. We learnt a lot from that experience and have made us hungry to succeed further this year in the European Club competition as well as retaining the European Cup as England.
~ Gemma Hillier