Chloe Lloyd in action for Cardiff City Ladies.

Interview: Cardiff City Ladies’ Chloe Lloyd

Coventry United and Chichester City have been stealing the headlines in this season’s FA Women’s National League South but just behind them, Cardiff City have been quietly going about their business. They currently sit third and while toppling Coventry United might be beyond them, they will believe that they can catch Chichester City and finish second in the division. I have been fortunate to spend some time catching up with the Bluebird’s Chloe Lloyd

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 22 years old, I’m from Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. I play central midfield. Growing up I was a huge Liverpool fan, however now that I play so much football if I do watch it, I just appreciate good football being played (or a good derby! 😉) I do enjoy watching Manchester City play, Pep is a football genius!

Who was your biggest footballing inspiration while growing up?
This could be from within the family, youth coaches or professional players. I’d be interested to hear about different role models from men’s and women’s football.

Growing up my footballing idol was of course… Stevie G! Hence why I prefer to play as No. 8.  He was a Captain, Leader and a Legend. I’d like to think I adapted how to play as a central midfielder from watching him. Nowadays, I really enjoy watching N’Golo Kante for Chelsea. He’s feisty when he needs to be but also very clever defensively OR the midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva – their technical ability is unreal!

In terms of the women’s game – Ji So-Yun from Chelsea Women. I’ve played against her and she is pure class!

Could you tell me about your experience at youth football?
I’m thinking which clubs have you previously played for, what positions have you played in and is there a particular highlight or lowlight?

So youth wise I played for a variety of clubs as I live in such a small town. These included Georgetown Boys & Girls Club and Troedyrhiw Boys & Girls Club. When I was 18 I signed for Swansea City Ladies for two years and a huge highlight was winning the Welsh Cup and I was fortunate enough to win Young Player of the year in the Welsh Women’s Premier League as well as gaining my first Welsh senior cap against Bosnia Herzegovina in the Istria Cup in Croatia – Very good year!

In terms of positions, the centre mid is my main position but I have played full back (which I love).

When I was 20 I signed for Cardiff City Ladies and they have had a special place in my heart since. I had lots of highs and lots of lows but i believe it’s made me who I am today!

After Cardiff, I moved onto Yeovil Town which was a big highlight in my career to play in the a very competitive league and it was where I wanted to be!

You are currently playing at Cardiff City, your second spell with the club. What is it about the club that you love?
Everyone and anyone who has ever represented Cardiff will say the club had a big part to do with their career! It’s a very special club. The coaches and the team are a very good, talented and driven team with a range of experience! The girls always strive for more – we are competitive which is what I like!

In 2017 you signed for Yeovil Town. Could you tell me about how you felt when you first became aware of the club’s interest in signing you?
It was a huge step in my football journey – I’d always dreamed of playing WSL football playing against some of the best teams and players in the country.  It was definitely the right move for me, I felt ready.  After competing in the World University Games with Team Great Britain in August,  I knew playing for Yeovil in the new season is what I wanted. I’d heard ALOT about the club from past players and their achievements winning WSL2 etc. I was ready to embrace the challenge under Jamie Sherwood!

I’ve been fortunate to spend some time with the club, they are an amazing bunch and deserve so much more than they are getting from their results this season. What needs to happen in order to pull themselves up from the foot of the table?
They are a very good bunch! From the coaching staff to the media team, they work extremely hard and the club have had A LOT of bad luck with results this season however they have also shown huge potential to go and win games. It’s not for me to say what they need to do because they know what they need to do, I’ve been in that changing room they all want it enough and they will go and get it! They know its crunch time and they need points and they will get them – I believe they will.

While you were at Yeovil Town you suffered quite a nasty injury. It must have been hard to take. What would you say was harder to recover from, the physical injury or the mental impact?
Yes indeed I did, I ruptured my ACL (Female footballer’s worst nightmare) and to be honest it couldn’t have come at a worse time – I felt the fittest and sharpest I have ever been and I was growing into the season game by game. I had a very successful operation and rehab and now I am back to playing – feeling refreshed and fit and ready for more!

This was all thanks to the help of Hilary Gannon (FAW Physio), Ewan (S&C Yeovil Town Ladies), Steve Savage and co. (University of South Wales), Nick Lane (Preview Sports Performance) and obviously my amazing family I got through it and I have learnt a lot about myself throughout the injury!

Physically it is A LOT of rehab and hard work but I learned to work hard through the week and use the weekend as time off. I was more determined than ever to get back – naturally, it would have a mental impact on you especially when I was going to support and watch Yeovil every week. Times got tough but it’s made me love what I do even more!

Chloe Lloyd in action against Chichester City's Molly Clark

Photo: Neil Wildy

It must be an amazing feeling to be back playing again?
Amazing is an understatement, I am extremely content with football right now.

You’ve recently managed an impressive win against top of the table side Chichester City Ladies. This puts you five points behind, with two games in hand. Do you think that you can overtake them between now and the end of the season?
It was a very good game and I was very pleased with how we dominated the game. If we continue that way who knows what can happen.

What are your personal targets for the rest of the season?
Coming back from such a long term injury my main target is to get game time on a regular basis and right now I’ve got that. Down the line I’d like to be back in the Wales Senior Squad. It’s an exciting time for us as a nation, especially after our World Cup Qualifying campaign. I’m looking forward to seeing what the group can achieve in the upcoming Euro QF’s.

Stuart Barker
hellosince71@gmail.com