Shannon Francis plays as a central defender for Bristol Rovers Womens FC Development side.
Our Community Trust recently caught up with Shannon for a chat about how things have gone so far.
GG: Shannon, firstly, how much have you enjoyed your time with the ‘Gas Girl’s’ so far?
SF: I have absolutely loved my time with the Gas Girls so far. Representing Bristol Rovers is a massive pleasure. The girls are friendly, encouraging and supportive of each other and it’s a great atmosphere to be a part of. The coaches are great too supporting us girls and hosting sessions that are fun but offering us chances to progress. We’re like one big family! Both
First & Development teams have had a great start to the season and long may it continue.
GG: When did you first fall in love with Football and who is your footballing idol?
SF: I first fell in love with Football at the age of 3/4. Starting out in an under 10s boys football club due to there being no girls clubs/teams. As soon as I turned 10 I played for a local club for a few years, then went with Phoenix Bitton & Downend Flyers when I was a little older to play 11 a side. Football feels like second nature to me and I’m absolutely hooked! I idolised David Beckham and Thierry Henry growing up – I was a big Arsenal fan!
GG: You came to the ‘Gas Girl’s’ after playing in the Bristol Ladies Casual League. How important is that League to encourage more women to take part in recreational football?
SF: The Bristol Womens Football Casual League was news to me until about a year ago. A friend asked me if I’d like to play for her team in this league so I did. I had a break from football for around 8 years due to other commitments.When I first played in the league, I was overwhelmed by the kind welcome from all the girls. The diversity was inspiring – Women from different cultures, ages and in all different shapes and sizes coming together to just play football and have fun. The league now holds an incredible amount of teams with divisions, due to popular demand. It is a very important league that offers opportunity for any woman to come along and participate. Big thanks to the ladies who continue to run this league and provide the
opportunities to play Women’s football!
GG: Since you’ve been with us, you’ve lost an incredible 30 pounds!! That’s incredible! How did you do it?
SF: Yes that’s right! I’ve been struggling with my size for a little while and I knew something had to change if I wanted to be serious about playing 11 a side football again. Even joining back in a 7 a side league, I knew I needed to up my game.
My confidence was very low too and I almost didn’t come to trials for Bristol Rovers. But, since being offered a spot in the Dev and since the first day we trained with the Gas Girls, I knew that I needed to get fit in order to keep up and battle players on the pitch. I changed my diet and lifestyle completely. I give more in training so I can reap the benefits and I go for runs more as much as I can take it… haha! Since July I have lost 30 pounds and I’ve never felt better mentally and physically. The support from girls in the team has been so amazing too.
GG: And finally, it’s been a fantastic start to for the Development Team. What are your hopes for the rest of the season?
SF: We’ve had a great start to the season which we all strive to continue! Every single game has us girls continuously learning about ourselves, the positions we play, the strengths and weaknesses of each other and how we can do better next time. My hopes for the rest of the season is to continue at the top of the league, continue putting away goals and develop as a team so that on game day, what we do becomes the norm! Win, show what the Gas Girls are all about & have fun!
Reproduced with the kind permission of Bristol Rovers Community Trust.