Interview: Sutton United’s Olivia Watson

Since 71 and Impetus are proud to jointly sponsor Sutton United Women’s Olivia Watson. Ben Gilby caught up with Olivia recently to find out how things are going for her now she is back on the pitch.

We last spoke to Olivia in February, so she was eager to update us with what has been going on. “Since we last caught up, off the pitch, I have been working and with the restrictions having now lifted slightly I have been able to see my family and my dog outside, which was amazing.  Football has returned, so we are back in training and have played three friendlies so far.”

With lockdown, hopefully now done and dusted for good, I wondered if these last twelve months have made permanent changes for Olivia both as a person and as a footballer.

“These periods of lockdown have changed my outlook, I definitely have learnt to appreciate life and the little things a lot more and to cherish time with my family and friends. In terms of football, it has taught me not to take the fact that I can play football for granted as you never know when it can be taken away and I now ensure that I enjoy every moment of socialising and being together as a team.”

I think my main goal is to just enjoy playing the friendly matches and training between now and summer, as this pandemic has shown that you never know when it can be taken away

Sutton United returned to training on 30th March and Olivia gave us an insight into what that first session was like: “It was fun and relaxed with the aim of getting everyone back together and enjoying themselves. We did an eight a side mini-tournament mixed with the U21s. It was great to be back and have the opportunity to catch up, have a laugh with my teammates and enjoy playing again.”

Sutton United had their first game back at home to Charlton Athletic U21s. Olivia described what that experience was like: “It was a good run out for the team after the three and half months off and the whole team just enjoyed playing competitively again. We were all a bit rusty at first but as the match went on we grew into the game.  I personally found the game tough as no matter how hard I try to maintain my fitness by running or cycling, playing football is so different – I definitely struggled to get up and down the wing!”

Photo: Paul Loughlin

“In terms of our matches between now and the end of the season, we are taking part in the London & South-East Regional Women’s Football League (LSERWFL) spring round-robin friendly tournament, which will be a good experience as we get to play teams that we would not have played in the season. This means we have matches most weekends up until the end of May. We are also still in the Capital Women’s Cup and are aiming for the final, so should have more cup matches scheduled in too.”

In terms of Olivia’s goals between now and the summer for her football, she said: “I think my main goal is to just enjoy playing the friendly matches and training between now and summer, as this pandemic has shown that you never know when it can be taken away and I will also to start preparing both physically and mentally for the 21/22 season.  Specifically, another goal of mine is to improve my movement and confidence with the ball as I feel this is an area I definitely need to develop for next season.”