Full Name: Rachael Laws
Date of Birth: 05/11/1990
Age: 29 years Old
How old were you when you first started playing football and did you always want to be a goalkeeper?
I was about 8 years old and I started playing with my brothers team! I didn’t always want to be a goalkeeper I just got put in goal and seemed to be ok at it so I ended up staying there!
Football fans in the North East are legendarily passionate, does this transfer to the women’s game?
Yeah I would 100% say it does! We are very passionate from the North East and I think that shows in some games when we are under dogs, we are a very close nit squad and most of our girls are from the North East so they know what football means up here! Which helps massively!
What was the women’s football scene like when you first started playing and did you face any adversity growing up as a girl wanting to play football?
It wasn’t a thing you really heard of when I was younger. I always played for the school team then played for the county, then from there I got scouted for SAFC Centre of Excellence! But at the time there wasn’t many girls teams about. It so much bigger and better now!
Where and when did you get your big break?
I played for SAFC ladies reserve team and I remember getting a call up to the first team when I was about 15 years old. I was quite nervous but once I started and made the initial first save I was fine! I was lucky enough to always have good team mates and they definitely helped me through it.
Did you face any obstacles along the way, ever think you weren’t going to make it to where you are now and if so how did you get past the obstacles?
Not really, it always crosses your mind at one point, maybe if you’re not playing and being on the bench or injured (touch wood I haven’t had any serious injuries) but no I don’t think so if i’m honest, I’ve been lucky to have an excellent family that support me through thick and thin and also my team mates. I’ve worked hard and hopefully I have a few more years left in me yet!
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
I would have to say my family! If it wasn’t for me starting to play with my brothers team and my mam taking me the length and breadth of the country then I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today! So my family! They have supported me through thick and thin!
How do you prepare for a big game?
I do the same for any game really, pack my bag the night before to make sure I don’t forget anything. Get up have pre match, head to the ground, same things really for every game I don’t normally treat any game differently.
Any tips on warm-ups?
Just to cover a bit of everything in the warm up, also the conditions they are different from game to game so depending on the conditions then add or take away things out of your warm up.
Are you superstitious or do you have any pre-game rituals?
Me and our right back Abby Holmes always do a hand shake once we break out of the huddle. We’ve played together years and have always done it! Also I always look for my mam before kick off to wave!
What techniques do you employ to keep focused for the full 90 minutes?
I just try and stay switched on, regardless whether I’ve been busy or not for the 90 minutes I try and stay switched on by talking to my defence and keep moving, just in case I’m needed!
What goalkeeper gloves do you wear and how important is the right goalkeeper glove to you?
At the moment I am wearing KZ Goalkeeping gloves! Very good gloves! It’s very important, you need to feel confident in what your wearing and I like the ‘roll finger’ gloves. They feel snug around my hands and I like that! Everyone has different preferences but I like roll finger as they feel snug!
What are the main features you look for in a goalkeeper glove?
As the question above I like ‘roll finger’ gloves, just because of how they feel when I have them on. They make me feel like I can grip the ball better and are a better fit on me than any other type of glove. Grip is also a massive help! So make sure the grip on your gloves is good!
Since you’ve started playing what is the most important bit of advice you’ve been given and by whom?
I was talking to Karen Bardsley recently at an England camp and we were saying how we take most things to heart because if we make a mistake then is 9 times out of 10 it ends in a goal, so maybe don’t take everything to seriously and go with the flow!
I also saw a quote which I live by ‘Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die today’. So pretty much you have to live each day like its your last (in football and out of football).
What’s been your biggest career highlight(s) so far?
I think it would have to be winning the FAWSL2 with Sunderland! We had waited so long to get there and we eventually did it on the last day with a 4-0 win over Millwall Lionesses! To do it with my second family was so special!
Who is/has been your toughest opponent and do you prepare differently to face them? (Team and player)?
Individual player would have to be Fara Williams! To play against her was an experience, her technical ability is second to none! She can take out a whole midfield in once pass and can open teams up!
Team would have to be Arsenal, they always have a good technical passing team and you have to be prepared to defend well against them!
I wouldn’t say we prepare any differently maybe a change in formation or personnel but no I wouldn’t say we prepare differently!
Any advice you could give to young goalkeepers trying to break through?
Enjoy it first of all! Take everything as it comes good or bad, be willing to learn! Always give 100%
Away from the football pitch and training ground what do you enjoy doing?
I just like to chill with my family/friends. We don’t get a lot of time off so when I do its normally spent with my family!
Having spent some time on loan at Liverpool, what is the biggest difference between both clubs?
At the time I went on loan I think it would have been Liverpool trained a lot more, that’s why they won the FAWSL for 2 years running. Now we are full time we can see the difference in ourselves and hopefully we are catching teams like Liverpool.
What football club do you support?
I support Newcastle (for my sins)
The women’s game seems to keep growing and growing, how much do you notice the changes from inside the game?
It’s grown massively over the last 10 years! The 2012 Olympics was obviously massive for the women’s game! They got a lot more coverage and obviously BT Sport supports the women’s game massively! From inside the game its things like the crowds at games and social media, we love to interact with our fans on social media which helps attendances and popularity of the women’s game!
How big do you think the female game will get to? Do you ever see it rivaling the Men’s game?
I don’t think you can really compare the 2 games, they are 2 totally different sports in the own right. I think the women’s game will grow a lot more, judging by how much its grown in the last few years then I can see it getting a lot bigger! Hopefully it will keep growing and get a lot bigger, maybe to how it is in the USA and we can get to the point where it is a big big sport in the UK.
Thanks very much to Rachael Laws!