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An interview with Newcastle University midfielder Erin Green

18 December 2023

Newcastle University Women’s Football midfielder and medical student, Erin Green talks about her experience at the University, balancing her studies and sport commitments, her football heroes, and shares her expectations of the current BUCS season.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, which stage are you at, and why did you come to Newcastle University?

Hello! My name is Erin and I come from a sleepy little village in North Lincolnshire. I am currently a third-year medical student and just started my placement at the RVI and Freeman hospitals. I look forward to the new challenge this year brings!

If I take myself back to when I was choosing universities, after carefully reviewing the course structures and teaching methods each one offered, I had most of the big northern cities on my list - (proud northerner at heart)! I whittled the choice down to three based on the strength of course and Newcastle quickly rose to the top after visiting for the day with my family.

Although there were no open days to attend due to COVID, it still managed to exceed my expectations. I quickly got a sense of how ‘warm’ the city felt to me - friendly people, beautiful architecture, carefree nature, a general buzz about the city and even physically warm for once as the sun was shining! I could really see myself living here and I believe with my course being so long, the choice of city becomes even more important. It provided the opportunity for adventure too, in comparison to the likes of Sheffield which I knew so well. I now live in Jesmond and Newcastle really is the gift that just keeps on giving!

I love how there are so many beautiful areas that make the city. In addition to these factors, I have to admit that football did come into the decision making process. Moving further up north meant I had to leave my team of Sheffield United FC so I made sure I had researched the local football teams and the university sport offer. It was very important to me to be able to continue to pursue both my passions of both Medicine and Sport.

What position do you play?

I play in centre midfield, a number 4 role for Durham (centre defensive midfield) and a more attacking role in number 8 for the university team (centre attacking midfield). I enjoy the freedom this latter role gives me in possession but equally feel very controlled at number 4.

Whilst I have played at CB and even on the wing, I have always felt most comfortable in centre midfield - mainly down to my desire to be involved in all passages of play and fortunately my fitness levels!


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You are part of Team Newcastle Women’s Football team, when did you start playing and what inspired you to take up this sport?

I can’t remember my exact age, around the last few years of primary school, I think! Since then, it’s always been a big part of my life. I do remember quitting gymnastics in order to join the local grass roots team, because it too was on a Saturday morning.

Although I was the only girl on the team and in fact the league, I had a great experience playing for the team and was able to grow in confidence as a player and lead the team as captain. I continued to juggle many sports for years, including county netball, swimming, athletics, however as all athletes know, it comes to a point where each sport/team/coach is asking for more commitment that you are forced to commit to one in order to be able to give it that time and effort to take it to the next step.

By this point I had joined the ‘centre of excellence’ team at Lincoln City U13s before moving to one of the new ‘regional talent clubs’ at Doncaster Rovers Belles and from here, Sheffield United FC U21s. Most recently, signing for Durham Cestria, alongside the University 1st team. Inspiration to initially take up the sport came from a number of places I think. I was surrounded by football at home with my dad managing my brother’s team and I was a fan of pushing back the boundaries and getting muddy in the process!

Are there any players and role models you look up to?

It was actually Jessica Ennis who inspired me to push myself in sport - through watching her success at the Olympic games and world championships as a child, coupled with her being a local(ish) girl! Currently, in the game, I admire the play of Keira Walsh, someone I believe is slightly overlooked. Her work rate and pass completion rate is incredible and while she may do less ‘star moves’, she is pivotal to her team’s play. In addition, I can’t not mention Mary Earps who is on fire at the moment!

What are your expectations for the new BUCS season?

Looking ahead at the new BUCS season, we are definitely striving for promotion. In my first year we won the league and cup double but last season was such a tight league and despite performing well we were forced to move down to the league below to ensure balanced numbers through no fault of our own. This has given us even more desire to want to succeed this coming season and I hope we manage to bounce back up. I look forward to welcoming some new freshers into the team too - every year they’re a quality addition!

You study medicine, how do you manage to combine your studies and sport commitments?

With challenge! Those stairs from the metro platform to central station prove very steep when you are sprinting up them most days a week! It means my weeks are very, very busy and I’m often rushing around on minimal sleep, however because I love both so much and from what I get out of them, I am prepared to continue doing this. My organisational skills have improved massively since being at uni and my self-discipline continues to be very important.

Growing up, I have always had to make many sacrifices to study hard enough to be able to study Medicine and pursue a footballing career. These sacrifices don’t stop. Over the years, many people don’t understand the choices you make but I’d rather look back in years to come having at least tried my best and pushed as far as possible.

What advice would you give to students who are considering playing sport while studying at a university?

Absolutely go for it! An excellent way to meet like-minded people almost immediately and transition into student life in your new city. There’s a real community to university teams. Having that support network across multiple year groups of peers within your own team really helps and you also mix with other university sport teams along the way. Suddenly, you know many interesting faces! Alongside this, it is a healthy mental release too which is gratefully received!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Despite the great strides the women’s game has made there is still a great imbalance in financial and wrap around support compared to the men’s. Even here at the University there needs to be equity of access to training facilities and sponsorship. Finally, whatever your sporting interest just pursue it – you’ll never know where it may lead you.