Getting to know Middlesex Ladies

Middlesex Ladies footballers watch on at a training session

By Rebecca Lodge, BA Journalism and Communication

When some people think of football, they think of sold-out stadiums and players on wages so extortionate, it's hard to even comprehend. Middlesex Ladies are a world away from that, but the levels of commitment and enthusiasm are still the same.

What they may lack in glamour, they make up for with substance and hard work. With the visit of two senior England internationals to the university in November, the team are finally in the spotlight and determined to show off their talent and ability.

Siobhan Chamberlain and Kelly Smith put them through their paces in a training session in front of the cameras.

Year by year, Middlesex are improving with an ever-expanding squad as the sport grows in popularity, both in the University and nationally. They've started strongly this season, with two comprehensive victories on home turf against the University of East London (13-0) and away to Kings College London (3-6).

Within the squad, they have representatives from clubs that participate in the Women's Super League (WSL). Kate Natkeil, a midfielder, is a regular for Watford in the Second Division and has won several awards on her way through the ranks – including 'Most Improved Player of the Year' in 2011-12 and 'Goal of the Season' the subsequent year.

Sara Moreira is also on the books of a WSL club, having been on the bench for Chelsea Ladies on four occasions at the age of just 18. Competition at such a high profile club must be fierce, but having shown her abilities in goal for Portugal at under-19 level her first team debut can't be far away. 

"It was an amazing experience [to play for Portugal U19s]" Sara said. "You learn a lot from it. Standing there singing your national anthem, it's something that gives me shivers every time I do it."

Middlesex recently appointed midfielder Iselin Vestnes as their new captain. She played for Fortuna Aalesund in Norway's First and Second Division, becoming a regular for them after their regelation. Since moving to England, she's played for London Bees' development team and now plays her football for Hampstead Ladies.

Iselin started playing football regularly at the age of six. "I have two older brothers, I got forced into it!" she joked. "It was my heritage to play football!"

Playing for two teams as well as juggling the demands of a university course must often prove challenging, especially around deadline time, with many of the squad into their third and final year at Middlesex. As committed as they are to the sport and their respective teams, all acknowledge their degrees must take priority.

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