'The sacrifice is worth it' - Leeds United captain Catherine Hamill on her football commitments, fantasy football mistakes and weekends without games

In her latest column, Whites skipper Catherine Hamill reveals her commitment to Leeds United Women.

Catherine Hamill. Pic: Leeds United Football Club
Catherine Hamill. Pic: Leeds United Football Club

Everything I do revolves around football.

From my fitness at the gym, to the course I study at uni, all of the decisions I make, I’m thinking ‘how will this benefit my football?’ Even when I go to coaching I’m clocking the steps I’ll be getting in while I work.

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Catherine Hamill. Pic: Leeds United Football Club

So it's quite nice sometimes when you get that break. This weekend was a bit different for me, as we didn’t have a match to play on Sunday.

We all sat down - me, Mum, Dad, my brothers - to watch Newcastle v Leeds on Friday, then I got to see my friends.

I love being with my friends but it can be difficult to see them as much as I’d like due to my commitment to football. For example, a few weeks ago they wanted to go out for a meal on a Saturday night, but I’m very set in my ways - it’s got to be salmon for tea the evening before playing a match! But they all know how important football is to me.

When I’m sat down on a Saturday night on my sofa, I’ll sometimes see my friends' videos on Instagram, and I think ‘it looks fun, that’, but I love football so much that when it comes to Sunday, I feel the sacrifice is worth it.

Leeds United Women. Pic: Leeds United Football Club

Then I’ve got all my friends at football, too. We get on so well. We all keep in touch on our group chats and send each other TikToks - this week it was a man dancing to Jonasu’s Black Magic, we love that tune - then there’s the Fantasy Football League, of course.

It’s a stressful thing. Coming up with a team name, that is. I just went nice and straight-forward with Camel FC. But I’m rock bottom. I made the mistake of joining in two weeks late, so it’s been a tough time playing catch up. It’ll be a while before I draw level with Paige Williams’ ‘On your Ederson’ at the top of the table. I moved up to ninth last weekend, I said ‘girls, I’m back, I’m on my way up’, but now I’m back to 11th and ten points behind.

I did alright this week I thought, I got 64 points. This is the starting XI I’ve gone for: Ederson in net, Kyle Walker, Virgil Van Dijk, Rúben Dias, then Kurt Zouma got subbed in for Alexander-Arnold at right back. I’ve got Demarai Gray, James Ward-Prowse, Kalvin Phillips, and Bukayo Saka in midfield, then Danny Ings and Patrick Bamford up top.

I thought about bringing Ronaldo in, then when I couldn’t find him on the transfer list I thought, ‘you know what? I’m not bringing in a new guy, I’m gonna be loyal to my players - I put these guys in this team for a reason!’ But now CR7 has hit three in the Premier League, so maybe I should have put him in…..

Leeds United Women. Pic: Leeds United Football Club

There’s a big week coming up, training-wise, or so I’ve heard.

All through preseason we did sprints at the start of every session and then we carried on with it. While we run the coaches are always saying ‘imagine there’s ten minutes left, you’ve got to find that winner’, and at the time you’re wondering ‘is this helping? I’m not sure!’ It’s so tiring. I was properly blowing last week. But you can see it helps when you’re playing.

It is definitely benefitting us. We have scored a few goals late on, in the last five minutes or so, which I think shows that the fitness is paying off.

We’ll need it on Sunday, too. They’re quite a physical team, Chester-le-Street. A lot of the teams in this league are physical, they’re all quite similar in their style of play from my experience. That’s why it’s so hard to get out of the league.

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