A woman from Pembrokeshire is currently representing Great Britain in Finland at the 2022 IFAF American Football Women’s World Championships.
Zoe John of Herbrandston is the only Welsh member of the squad as they aim to end USA’s dominance in the competition.
Zoe was 24 when a friend of hers set up the Cardiff Valkyries, who are still Wales’ only women’s team.
Although Dr John recently completed her PhD in Cardiff, she still fondly recalls her days in Pembrokeshire, calling herself a ‘little village girl’.
She said: ‘All of my family are based in Pembrokeshire and I try to visit when I can. With all the training, balancing with writing the PhD and working, it was all a bit hectic.
“I can’t wait to have time to finally breathe the air of Sandy Haven – I went there almost every day.”
Since the inaugural IFAF Women’s World Championship in 2010, the United States have won all three competitions.
Meanwhile, Britain’s best performance was a fourth-place finish in the last tournament (2018, Sweden), losing 19-8 in the play-off against Mexico.
NO MORE NEWS
Although Zoe was not the sportiest during her years at Herbrandston Primary School, Milford Haven Comprehensive and Pembrokeshire College, Zoe is confident ahead of the World Championships.
Zoe added: “The team looks solid going into Canada. We have always been united as a team and we are aggressive on both sides of the ball. We’re ready for it, and we’ll take it all in our stride.
“Our hopes? Gold. No doubt about it. That’s why we came here. »
However, even after the tournament is over, Zoe claims to be part of a much bigger project, developing the game of American football in Britain and Wales in particular.
She said: “A lot of people think it’s rugby with leggings on and it’s cheating. For this reason, I think people don’t respect the game, simply because they don’t know what it is.
“Hopes for the long-term future of American football in Wales continue to grow, particularly in women’s football.
“It would be fantastic to eventually have a strong Welsh network of women’s teams, given that there are a lot more senior teams (which are mostly men) around.”