It isn’t every day that you come across someone who can provide just as much on the field, as they can off it, but there seems to be a special breed over Notts County, with both of their captains, seniors and development team, showing numerous qualities.
Seniors captain, Holly Fowler, she’s a degree in Architecture, not to be out-done (although it’s not a captain), her 24-year-old counterpart with the clubs Devs, Heather Keith, she’s boasting an Honours degree in Criminology, and a Masters in Intelligence, Security, and Disaster Management.
We’ll forgive her though in that she’s achieved said education across border lines, at the University of Derby, especially with her playing career having taking place on the right side, in glorious Nottinghamshire.
“I started playing football when I was around seven, in primary school,” began Heather.
“I first played for a team called Garston Ladies in Watford, before moving to Notts and I’ve since played for West Bridgford Colts, Netherfield, Sherwood, and now I’m County, where I’ve been for a few years.
“Education-wise however, I didn’t know what I wanted to do really, I just thought I’d give it a go and it’s been really interesting to do, and is always topical, somewhere in the world.
“My thesis? That was whether emergency preparedness should be taught in schools (an interesting subject considering the way the world has become).”
Since Heather started out in the beautiful game, some seventeen years now since first kicking a ball at school, times have changed, as she readily admits.
However, her arriving at County, prior to that of her coach, Thomas Hodges, and subsequently being made captain of the clubs’ Development side, has aided in her own progression as well.
“There’s more awareness and interest in women’s sport now, compared to when I was younger,” admits Heather.
“You were really lucky if something happened then, but it’s come a long way since as well.
“When I joined County, they were, and still are, a club with aspirations; they were a top club and they want to get back there, that’s what we are working towards.
“There’s a really nice, positive environment here, one which is enjoyable to be a part of and, when I was made captain (after Thomas Hodges took over as Head Coach), that was a great honour and I’m proud to be the person who leads this team.”
Last time around, County’s Development team finished sixth in Division One North, with four wins and seven draws from their sixteen outings.
Now, as they prepare to head into the new season, it’ll be one that has seen some change, the Devs going into a new-look, Division One Central, where they’ll face new opposition, and new challenges.
“Last season, we were probably frustrated and inconsistent, and that did hamper us,” explained Heather.
“Although we did well, we did have a youthful squad; now though, we are more settled, and that is something which we can take into the new campaign.
“We, myself included, not only want to play, but want to push ourselves for a spot on the Seniors and personally, I’d like for us to be pushing for a top five finish, minimum, especially as we have the quality here to do that.
“As for the new season, it’s a positive thing with the new teams, the new challenges, that’ll be presented.
“You just don’t know what to expect, and have to react accordingly to whatever is happening.
“But, we’ll go out there and go to win, whilst also enjoying ourselves, especially after recent years.”
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NCFC_Women Heather Keith in action for Notts County Development.