Southgate People – Sofia Martin

Sofia manages to juggle playing for three hockey teams including our Ladies 1’s and also plays football for Tottenham. In her interview Sofia explains where her love for Hockey came from as well as her ambitions to win an Olympic Gold Medal for team GB.

Sofia can you tell us a bit more about how you initially came to Southgate HC and what attracted you to the club?

Whilst I was at primary school the famous Martin Foxall came to our school to coach us hockey. After the first session, I absolutely loved it and his passion spilled onto me so much that I was eager to start training at the club. It did take me 4 weeks to persuade my mum, but luckily, she gave in and I started training with Martin immediately after that. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the team you are currently playing for and your journey through the club?

I currently play in three teams: the L1’s, U18s and England U16s

The U18s, coached by Grant, had an amazing season last year. Even with the struggle of lockdown restrictions, we still managed to stay dedicated and positive, resulting in us being crowned National Champions!

This season the L1’s, coached by Martin and Mark, have worked extremely hard and our spirit along with our teamwork has meant we have reached second place in the league so far. 

My journey through the club started with Martin after school on Tuesdays. My love for the sport grew and I began to train with the junior teams on Sunday mornings going up through the ages from U10s all the way to U18s. Throughout my junior journey, I was dying to play ladies hockey and to play at a high level in the club. So as soon as I turned 13, I started playing in the ladies 5s, before making it into L1’s team three years later.

Outside of Southgate, I also play for England U16s where we train at Bisham Abbey and at Lilleshall. It has been an amazing experience, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, we only managed to play one International game against Ireland (where we won☺).

How have you found the interrupted nature of this season and what are you looking forward to as we return to the pitch?

Not playing hockey has been a challenge, especially as ‘I live and breathe it’. I cannot wait to start playing competitive matches again along with both my teams that I have missed so much. For the L1’s in particular, Covid-19 has interrupted our flow to reach the top of the league. However, this pause in the season has not dampened my spirits and I have kept to Martin’s fitness regime to keep me ticking over. I feel that there is now light at the end of the tunnel and personally I am buzzing to see my friends and just to play again. 

When not playing hockey can you tell us a bit more about what you get up when not at SHC and playing hockey?

Outside of hockey, I also love football where I play for Tottenham Hotspur U16s. The skills are transferable to hockey and thanks to football, it has enhanced my game awareness. Other than sport, I love music where I currently play the piano and to relax, I go for walks with my dog called Holly. 

What are your personal ambitions as a player and also for the L1’s?

My ambition as a hockey player is to win a Gold medal in the Olympics for England Hockey. This has been my dream ever since I picked up a hockey stick. I’d like to thank all of my coaches who have helped, supported and inspired me throughout my hockey career. For the L1’s I hope to be part of the team that makes it into the Premier Division League and with such a great club as SHC, I know we can do this!

How have you found the past few past months of lockdown life- what are the things that you will take away from the unusual year we have all lived through?

It has been very hard not being able to see my family and friends. Not being able to go out and have fun, nor go on holiday has meant there has been little to look forward to. With the addition of my exams being cancelled, it has caused the feeling of uncertainty, making it harder to plan ahead. However, a positive from this experience has meant that I have been able to spend more time with my immediate family and just to relax. 

Finally, can you tell us what you love most about playing hockey at Southgate?

I love the community, spirit and camaraderie at SHC; it feels like one big family. I know I have made friends for life. To be able to train and play with such amazing people has been an honour and this club has taught me so much which has helped me become the player I am today.