‘British Soccer Mom’ spoke to Chester LFC Vice-Captain, Christine Keane about her passion for playing the game.
When did you first become interested in football?
Age 5, my Dad had me kicking a ball about in my garden. Then aged 7, I started playing football with lads on the estate and having matches. At this age I didn’t realise that I could join boys teams because no girls actually did this.
Was it unusual in your peer group to want to play the game?
Yes, there was only me and another girl playing football with boys in my primary school, my close girl-friends weren’t interested in football. It wasn’t until the last year of high school that we had a girls team and I was made captain and I was made up!
Where your family supportive?
Yes, but it was my dad that always took me to training and matches, so I owe it to him.
At Chester, what’s the commitment?
At Chester we all give 100 percent and we play for the shirt and this club. We train twice a week and have matches on a Sunday. We play in the Cheshire Division 2 County League. We don’t have contracts, we just had to sign. Is there any level of payment/ perks to playing for Chester? We don’t pay any subs and we didn’t have to pay a signing on fee, which is a first for me. We get a free training kit and free entrance to the Chester FC home games plus a chance to be in the match day programme.
Do you have a job outside the game?
Yes, I am an ASA Level 2 Swimming Teacher.
What’s your thoughts on the recent Olympics?
I mainly watched the England Ladies and Men’s football. I think it’s great for young people to watch their heroes compete for their country. When I was young and I used to watch the Olympics and think that I want to achieve something and play like my heroes. I think it has made women’s football more popular and I know that since about 2002 it’s become the most popular team sport for women in the UK.
Do you feel that there’s enough being done to promote the game to young girls?
I believe there is now, but not when I was younger. I very rarely heard about football in schools when I was young, but now the FA are doing really well to promote girls football. Women’s football has been on the television numerous of times which is great and now you can go to stadiums to watch women’s football. I recently went to the Stobart Stadium in Widnes to watch Liverpool FC Ladies v Everton Ladies FC, and afterwards the players came into the lounge to take pictures and sign autographs. Liverpool FC hold events where children can play like their heroes and I believe sport development projects play a vital role in schools and communities. Coaches all over the world are doing well to help promote girls football and the media and internet are also invaluable in raising awareness.
Have you done anything yourself to promote the game to girls?
When I was at college I went to a local primary school as a coach and taught football to young children. The girls looked happy and really enjoyed playing. Some girls said they wanted to play like me when they are older, I felt so happy! The parents asked me how I got into a team and I advised them to research on the internet as a first point of call.
How long do you hope to carry on playing for?
I’m 26 – no spring chicken, but I’m hoping to carry on playing right through my 30s.
She Kicks – the online community for women’s football