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An interview with medical student and Team Newcastle goalkeeper, Hannah Speake

28 September 2023


University goalkeeper, Hannah Speake, discusses her experience at Team Newcastle and her what she expects in the new BUCS season. The medical student shares advice on balancing sport with studies and how students can make the most of participating in sport while studying.


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

I’m Hannah and I’m from Lancaster. I’m currently in my 5th (and final year of medical school) but I have just taken a year out to complete a master’s degree, so this is actually my 6th year studying here at Newcastle University. I came to Newcastle on an open day and just fell in love with the city so applied and thankfully was offered a place! 

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’ve been playing football ever since I can remember. My family are huge football fans so it seemed inevitable that this was the sport I would end up playing! I’ve always really enjoyed the sport and I think ever since I started playing, I knew it was something I would end up doing for a long time. 


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

As a goalkeeper, Mary Earps is obviously a big hero of mine both on and off the pitch. She makes some phenomenal saves and also stands up for what she believes in. 


What are your expectations for the new BUCS season?   

I have high hopes for the season ahead! We’ve got a good team with most of our players returning this year. Hopefully a promotion and cup win are on the cards for us this year! 



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

Medicine is a course with a lot of contact hours and university football does require a level of commitment, with training twice a week and matches every Wednesday. I think the key to success in both is good organisation, making sure you plan ahead, not leaving things until last minute.  


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

For me, sports is great for both my mental and physical health. The team itself forms a large part of my support system at university, which is such an important thing to have. My main advice would be get involved to a level you enjoy. I enjoy playing at the university level because I enjoy the competitive nature of it and pushing myself to develop my skills further. If you haven’t played before or want to have a lower level of commitment, there are always other options available. I recommend working out what the right level is for you and getting involved where possible. Don’t be afraid to try something new! 


Anything else you’d like to say or get across?   

Playing sports at university is the best decision I ever made. It has played a huge role in my university life, especially from a personal development perspective. Being involved in the team’s committee, in roles such as the first team captain, has allowed me to develop important skills, like leadership, which will be useful for future career prospects.