Derby County Football Club Women

Watson Looks to USA for Women’s Football Template

Article Written by Derby University Football Journalism Student Trent Hutson

Ewe Rams attacking midfielder Monique Watson believes the success of the women’s game in America can be used as a template for the growth of the game here in years to come.

The youngster joined the club in the summer of 2018 from WSL2 champions Doncaster Rovers Belles and is itching to get back out onto the field of play. “I just miss the football environment and being around all of my teammates training hard, laughing and joking”.

The growth of the women’s game is evident to see and Watson believes positive strides have been made in recent times, but she also feels that following the model of America could help to continue that upward trajectory of interest.

“I think that within the next few years it could be at the same level that America’s at, and I really believe there’s the potential growth for that to happen. There are more and more players coming up from Sunday league teams, our division, the division above and hopefully the more players we get the bigger the leagues expand.

“In America, there’s a good support programme in place so that you can study and play your football, if we adopt that in the coming years over here then it could become massive. We’ve not hit that potential yet, but more players and coaches coming through, so we all just have to keep pushing”.

During this frustrating time, Watson has remained positive, pushing herself in individual training despite not being able to be out on the grass with her fellow teammates, and she was full of praise for the club’s staff that have helped young players like herself through.

“We’ve been given our strength and conditioning programme. There’s some gym stuff in there, and we’ve got access to all of the equipment. They’ve given us all some cardiovascular things to do, and if we ever need any help or advice with anything the coaches are always there to help us”.

Watson further added that the coaching of manager Sam Griffiths has been great for her as a young player. “Sam motivates us all to want to get better but individually she’s helped me with getting the support I need from the club, as well as helping me to look at my long term goals and how I’m going to get there”

The Rams’ women were enjoying a fantastic season and sat in 2nd position before the season was halted, however, with the conclusion of the season still unclear the youngster believes safety still comes first no matter how inviting the league table looks. “As annoying as it is not being able to play the matches, our safety and wellbeing is more important. We were getting into the run of things so it’s a disappointment but you can’t put a price on safety, so I think everyone would agree that staying home and following the government’s guidelines is probably better than putting ourselves at risk and playing behind closed doors”.

Despite slipping to defeat to bitter rivals Nottingham Forest, the 18-year-old described how it was personally one of her most memorable and special days this campaign. “Being able to play at Pride Park was a truly amazing feeling. Even just the build-up towards the game was a great experience that not a lot of people will get”.

The team spirit was shown when the side had to dig deep in some challenging encounters also didn’t go unnoticed by Watson. “The games where we had a tougher challenge where we needed to hold out to beat the teams that we needed to win against, you could just see in the changing rooms after how much that meant to all of the players and coaches – so there were many great times on that front”.

After what she described as an ‘up and down’ season this campaign, Watson is looking ahead and has aspirations of being a more consistent performer. “I’m looking to get a more consistent season under my belt. This season has been quite up and down in terms of playing time and performances so I’m hoping that next season I can make it a more consistent one. For me, that’s what I’m going to be working hard to try and achieve”.