Laura Coombs interview
At only 23 years old, Laura Coombs is already considered as one of the best midfielders in the women’s league and a key player for the FA Women’s Cup Champions, Chelsea Ladies.
Laura Coombs is one of the most exciting and promising young names in English women’s football having enjoyed success playing international football at youth level, her ambition is to progress into the England senior side. Coombs is a key part of the Chelsea Ladies set-up, she displays great composure on the ball, high levels of skill and brilliant vision.
In an interview with Women’s Soccer United, the intelligent midfielder discusses being a part of the historic FA Cup winning day with Chelsea Ladies, her international ambitions, the growth of women’s football in England and her hopes for the rest of the season.
Women’s Soccer United: Firstly, congratulations on your recent FA Cup win with Chelsea at Wembley! Can you talk us through that experience, what it was like playing in such an iconic stadium in front of a record breaking crowd and how it feels to win the title?
Laura Coombs: It was such a good day. On the day we were fully switched on, tried as best as possible to treat it as any other match. We didn’t play as well as we would have liked however the most important thing was getting the right result and winning the first piece of silverware for Chelsea Ladies. It was such an historic day for women’s football in England and for Chelsea Ladies, so it was amazing to be a part of that.
WSU: How did yourself and the team prepare for the FA Cup Final both mentally and physically. Did Emma Hayes do anything different in your training routines in order to prepare you for the huge occasion?
Laura Coombs: A couple of days previous we had visited the stadium and did a mini tour. It gave us a chance to get our excitement out of the way, take photos etc, so that on the day we could be fully focused. We also stayed at the same hotel as the 1966 England world cup team the night before, which was a nice incentive for us as players. In terms of training nothing changed, we kept it as normal as possible.
WSU: What are your hopes for the rest of the FAWSL season with Chelsea and what expectations do you have?
Laura Coombs: The club have made no secret of the fact we want to go for all three titles, as well as a long run in the Champions League. I think we have the strength in depth in our squad to be able to do so.
WSU: Can you describe a typical week with Chelsea, training schedules, match preparations, team morale, what it’s like to be part of this group of talented players?
Laura Coombs: Typically we train 5 days a week, with a match on the weekend. We also have strength and conditioning as well as match analysis. The team morale is probably at the best it’s been since I’ve been here, I really love training with such a motivated and ambitious group of players.
WSU: Chelsea will be making their European debut this year in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, how far do you think you can progress in the tournament and are there any teams you would most like to play or avoid along the way?!
Laura Coombs: With a favourable draw and avoiding the big guns until the later stages we have confidence we can go far. We have some previous European winners in the team already, so their experience will be invaluable. The German and French teams have great records in this competition so meeting them as late as possible would be beneficial!!
WSU: You have international experience and success with the England youth set-up, including winning Gold in the U-19 Euros (2009) and silver (2010). What have you learned from these experiences and how has this prepared you with your progression into the England senior team?
Laura Coombs: Playing international football has helped me develop as a player, having different coaches and experiences along the way, I always learn something new playing against top opposition. I’ve played at all youth ages and now one of my ambitions is to get a chance with the senior squad.
WSU: Has England’s recent performance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 inspired you even more to fulfil your dreams and ambitions? Do you have any role models within the game that help motivate you?
Laura Coombs: I watched the world cup religiously, and thought it was amazing to see England do so well and get some much deserved credit. I don’t have any role models as such but seeing the game progress and England do well motivates me to try and get myself a part of that in the future.
WSU: When did you first start playing football? What advice would you give to young girls wanting to get into the game?
Laura Coombs: I first started playing when I was 7 or 8, for my best friends’ team, which was run by his dad. I was the only girl on the team but loved every minute of it. My advice to any young girls wanting to get into football now is to find your local team and train and enjoy!! I’ve always been of the opinion that staying in a boys team as long as possible is never a bad thing, as it will develop your physical game more than a girls team.
WSU: How much has the game progressed since you first started playing? What initiatives are being used to keep growing the game in England and what would you like to see for the future to improve all aspects of the sport?
Laura Coombs: Until I was about 10 I didn’t even know there were girls teams, now I hear our games advertised on the radio!! The introduction of the FAWSL 1 and 2 has been massive and the game has grown tremendously. I would like to see more teams in the leagues and more teams getting the chance to train full time – I think that is the only way the game is going to grow.
Former Brighton and Hove Albion and Sussex footballer. Working with Women’s Soccer United to increase awareness and promote the female game to a global audience.