Stories & Role Models:
I've been playing international Football with fully grown women since I was 14 years old - which perhaps nudged me to mature pretty quickly. So, at 25 I have a 10-year international career under my belt. Undoubtedly, there have been moments where Football has made me 'come alive' - representing New Zealand is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember, particularly at the Olympic Games. Football has been the vehicle driving me through some of the greatest adventures of my life (so far). Soccer has taken me to every continent (minus Antarctica), taught me vital life skills (resilience and self-belief being top of the list), given me a stellar education (thanks UCLA), allowed me to play for the best club in the world (Liverpool), and gifted me the greatest friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Upon reflection, the moments where I have felt 'most alive' are the periods of my life where I have found a balance between my various, yet intertwined passions, had good relationships and great friends to share the experiences with. I have deep passions for creativity, food, wellness, adventure, and turns out I am overwhelmingly competitive and pretty good at sport. White Rose is my way of expressing and combining my passions.
Strangely enough, I've always tried to push against the identity of being a 'footballer (soccer player)' because I’ve never felt that classification encompasses or does justice to who I am. I feel like the 'soccer player’ label to closes the door on the other parts of myself I enjoy just as much. It's true, I am probably better at the soccer side of things, but I feel there is a greater story that is possibly more relatable, and in my eyes, more important to tell.
Stories are important, stories enact our ability to learn from one and other which is the foundation of knowledge and understanding. There is only so much we can learn from watching someone play soccer or following them on Instagram. We all have the opportunity to share knowledge through our own authentic and genuine voices, in a way that is honest and relatable. As a female athlete, I feel a huge social responsibility and it’s important that “our” voices are accurately represented, heard, and acted upon. Every precious story carries with it a message and a lesson that has the ability to instil knowledge in somebody else – and I think that’s a legacy worth leaving.
The people I find most inspiring are those I know for more than just being really good at one thing - there is always a personal draw card. One of my greatest sporting hero’s is, Sarah Ulmer. Sarah is a Cyclist from New Zealand, she won the Gold in Athens in 2004. Sarah is one of my heroes not only because she won a gold medal, but because of the imprint she left engraved on my memory. I was glued to the TV screen as an 11-year-old in Auckland watching Sarah Ulmer finish her Olympic race absolutely gasping and wheezing for breath after breaking the world record, she looked and sounded like she might have actually been dying. Since that day I’ve drawn inspiration from that incredible moment where Sarah pushed her body to the very limit, and then a little bit further. Every time I get tired or feel at the point of exhaustion I think “Come on, I’m not Sarah Ulmer tired yet”.