Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Goalkeeper Cherie Rowlands, talks Bees, Barnet and Schmeichel with SOTB.  She has experience playing for Arsenal Ladies in the FA WSL and Champions league, as well as being Barnet's leading footballer with the most appearances. 

Q. How are you personally, and as a club, looking forward to new challenge of the FA WSL season ahead?

Myself personally, I can't wait for the season to start. Being a apart of this club feels like family and I know all the girls as well as the staff are raring to go. It will be a difficult season that's for sure with every club wanting to prove themselves.

Q. Are there any teams you see as rivals in your league?

Everyone. There is no ruling anybody out of the equation as it is new for every club in this league. I am sure though that a few close teams in terms of geography will no doubt become rivals over time, that's what happens in football.

Q. London Bees have signed a lot of new, young players recently. Is the squad mixing well in preparation for the new season?

Oh yes, the girls are great and everyone gets along so well. The mix of the younger players and more experienced works really well as the kids just want to learn and play and the experienced players are more than willing to help them along the way.

Q. As well as playing for Arsenal, you once helped Barnet win the FA League Cup in 2011 and gained the most appearances, over 130. Do you feel your experience as a player can help others in your team? 

My experience, I would hope would help others within the team. I am very much a veteran now compared to most the girls, but that's alright as I don't feel too old. I feel I would be able to give the correct advice for anyone wanting to know anything. 

Q. Do you ever get nervous anymore when stepping out onto the pitch?

Yes I get nervous, I don't like to show it though but as soon as I am out of the tunnel my other personality comes through and takes over from the nervous wreck that morning!

Q. With the second tier being created for the FA WSL and more matches being shown on TV, positive steps are happening in women's football. How does this feel expecially for experienced players like yourself  to finally see the game developing more and being invested in?

As you say, everyone can see it and I personally think that it is brilliant. There was nothing like the FA WSL, or even knowing the England squad back when I was a kid. Now there is so much hype over it all and the girls growing up know exactly what they want when they are older. As for the players I am sure that they think "all the hard work has paid off".

Q. Aside from football, do you have a job elsewhere? If so, is it difficult dividing your time between the two?

I do have a job and I love it. I work full time at a sports centre called OXSRAD, which is an integrated sports centre that caters for everybody and every need. Day to day it is so rewarding; for example helping a man walk with an aid after being told he would never walk again, that's brilliant. Work are very understanding of my football and I am given the relevant time off for games and training, although I do find myself owing days back!

Q. What does the future hold for you Cherie in terms of continuing playing? Would you ever like to get involved in coaching, refereeing or other areas of football?

I am uncertain of what my future holds, as I am getting older I am thinking more career wise. Maybe coaching would be a good route, but I can't stand refereeing. Football has been my life since I was 10 but there are times when it seems a little too much for me.

Q. And finally, who do you see as your football idol/hero? And what advice would you give to any young girls who want to become a goalkeeper one day?

My idol/hero is one of two: Peter Schmeichel or Hope Solo. They are both incredible, I grew up watching Schmeichel and adored him. Hope Solo is another one, after reading her book and realising how hard she has worked to get to where she is, is amazing.
A goalkeeper is a special position and not just anybody can do it, you want to have to do it. So my advise to anyone thinking about being a goalkeeper would be, work hard, in and out of training study the position and don't be afraid (afraid to get hurt, afraid to dive, afraid to shout, afraid to be the last line of defence, etc).

'The Hive'-home to Barnet FC, London Bees and London Broncos

London Bees will be playing away to Oxford United in this years first FA WSL fixture, April 14th. Cherie can also be found posing for MD-PRO, who are a professional goalkeeping glove range, with pro keepers wearing their products across the English leagues. Thanks for your answers Cherie, good luck with the season.