Interview: Yeovil Town and The WSA’s Jordan Guard

It’s been an interesting year for Welsh wing-back, Jordan Guard. She began the season at Cardiff City and working as a freelance graphic designer. Fast forward six months later and Jordan is now plying her trade for the new-look Yeovil Town and has co-launch the Women’s Sports Alliance (WSA). I was fortunate to have some time to catch up with Jordan recently to find out more about both of those topics. Spoiler alert, I’m joining!

You have recently transferred from Cardiff City to Yeovil Town, congratulations on the move. How have you been settling in?
Thank you! I’m absolutely loving it at Yeovil. From day one, it was clear to me that the entire club is all pushing for the same goal. There is a feeling of unity in the squad and the players and staff helped me to settle in really quickly. We were on bit of a roll before the dreaded virus put a halt on our season, but the support we are getting away from team training from our coaches will make sure that we are ready to go as soon the league is up and running again.

You have been keeping busy outside of football I believe. Can you tell me about the Women’s Sports Alliance?
Yeah! The past three months have been the busiest of my entire life. I’ve loved every second of it though (apart from a few sleepless nights). It’s pretty insane that I’ve featured on Sky Sports News, BBC Sport, Forbes, The Telegraph and The Guardian as well uncountable Podcasts, including Two Girls Talk Balls. Juggling three businesses and a football career has been pretty testing, but it’s taught me the importance of managing my time. Something which I used to be really rubbish at. I’m really trying hard to use this lockdown period to make The WSA even better. We’ve been non-stop!

So, The WSA, launched earlier this year, is a Union-style, exclusive membership club where the services are specifically designed for the needs and benefit of elite individuals within Women’s Sports. The membership criteria can be found on our website but basically, you have to be involved in the top three tiers of your sport or competing at an international/regional level to be accepted. Our aim at The WSA is to provide protection, support and enhancement opportunities to our members.

We want members to know that they will always have The WSA in their corner. We are actually the worlds first exclusive members-only club, entirely focused on the women’s sports industry. I like being able to say that! Individuals in women’s sports deserve a more tailored support system to thrive and be protected. I know that I’d prefer to be supported by specialists who put all of their energy into the women’s sports industry, than by a male-dominated support system that may be juggling priorities.

How did you come to get involved and what is your role?
I’m the Co-Founder of The WSA but I’d pretty much call myself a member too! We came about the idea after thinking carefully about the lack of support and protection for Individuals that are involved in Women’s Sports. We figured that unless you are a part of the top few teams in the country (taking football as an example), you are very limited in the kind of support that is available. That’s quite scary to think about these days. With the horrific ACL epidemic in women’s football and the impact it has not only on your physical well-being but your mental health too, The WSA was created to ensure that no one has to go through anything like that alone. I absolutely love the idea of The WSA and maybe I’m a little biased but it’s definitely something that I wish I had access to during the whole of my playing career.

What support is currently in place for elite individuals involved in women’s sports?
With the launch of The WSA, there is now sufficient accessible support available for Elite Individuals in women’s sports. The Women’s Sports Alliance offer access to a range of beneficial services. For example, legal and financial advice, contractual advice and representation, mental health support, performance psychology support, injury rehab support, injury grant opportunities, discounted products, sportswear and hotels, media enhancement opportunities and business start-up support and investment. One of the main reasons that I’m a member of The WSA is for the Adidas discounts!!

But thinking in a little bit of a smarter way, our members never know when they might need a lawyer or a tax return specialist, or mental health support, or injury grants (touch wood) and for them to have The WSA to turn to in a crisis like that, should be a real comfort. The WSA operates globally, within all sports. So, any Elite Individual within women’s sports – whether that be a female athlete, a male coach, a pundit or a sport scientist, can apply to become a member. We are actually just launching a pretty cool membership offer that will run for a limited time only. It’s not something that anyone will want to miss out on. If anyone reading this is interested, head over to our website the-wsa.co.uk or give us a follow on Instagram or twitter @_thewsa_.

What sort of issues are the WSA supporting players with during this lockdown period and what are you able to do to help?
This lockdown period is an extremely challenging time for everyone involved in the Women’s Sports industry. Our members are being faced with financial struggles, residency issues, legal battles, furlough schemes and mental ill-health. As well as the uncertainty of when and where they might compete next.

The WSA want to find solutions to as many stresses as possible and have found that our specialist mental health support and free 30 minute financial advice consultations are the most utilised and most beneficial to our members.

We have also been really busy giving clubs advice after the FA Women’s National League was announced as null and void. The WSA had over 20 clubs reach out for advice and representation. On the back of this, we immediately launched our Affiliate Club Program and we now have membership benefits for Organisations and Clubs in Women’s Sports as well as for Individuals.

If you meet The WSA’s membership criteria, fill in the Application Form on our website. Within 48 hours, you will know if your membership has been approved. If approved, you will be contacted and welcomed by your allocated WSA representative. It really is that easy. We want to be The Ultimate Support Network for Elite Individuals in Women’s Sports and I do think it’s a no brainer for anyone involved in Women’s Sports to submit a membership request and be protected by The WSA.

Photo: Tim Badger Photography

As I said at the beginning of this piece, I have been really impressed with what Jordan and Reece Land so am going through the process to become a member and I encourage others too as well.