As it’s BUCS This Girl Can week, our Women’s Football Club Captain Ailie Rennie looks back on her experiences and the opportunities playing football has given her.
Being surrounded by a football-crazy dad and an older brother meant that I ended up playing, watching, talking and breathing football almost every day. I think I probably kicked a ball before I learnt how to walk, much to my mum’s dismay! I joined a boys team as soon as I was old enough and have continued to play ‘the beautiful game’ ever since. Football has taken me on many crazy journeys over the past two decades, from a school tournament in Uganda to playing barefoot in the Amazon Rainforest, ticking off five continents in the process.
Getting involved with football at uni was an inevitable feature of moving away, and I quickly found myself embedded in this family of amazing girls. It became (and still remains) a place of enjoyment, passion and acceptance for a range of abilities and individuals and I immediately found my home away from home.
In my second year, I became first team captain and was inspired by the sense of responsibility and leadership the role brought me. Naturally, I didn’t have to do too much to win the league with such a fantastic bunch of players within my squad. The team has continued their success from my time as the 1s captain with a third back-to-back BUCS league victory and two BUCS cups!
Following this, I went on a year abroad and came back ready to re-immerse myself in everything uni football and decided to run for club captain. Whilst it’s been time-consuming, it has been incredibly rewarding, even within these first few weeks, recording varsity wins, seeing numerous freshers join (and score hat-tricks) and overseeing the creation of a new development squad.
As club captain, I was invited to the BUCS Women’s Football and Futsal Presidents Network on Friday 2nd November, at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The day provided a chance to meet other students who carry out the same role as me within their university, giving us the opportunity to grow and learn from one another.
The day also included workshops on the role we play as club captains, understanding the individuals within our club and planning for club development.
The event embedded the ideals of creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all within the society, highlighting respect and encouragement as the focus of engagement in an attempt to develop the club and get more women playing the sport.
The opportunities for girls and women within the sport are continuing to grow with days like these provided by BUCS, helping to develop the game at grassroots level and make the Lionesses of tomorrow.
Be sure to let us know what you get up to during BUCS This Girl Can week by tagging @Leeds_Sport and @BUCSsport in your photos, videos and posts, along with #BUCSThisGirlCan.
Watch the new This Girl Can video here.
If you want to enhance your leadership skills or gain experience, visit our leadership web page.