Josie Hewson: I am proud to be a part of the community

Right-back tells us about her career so far!


Josie Hewson is Leeds United Women’s right-back and has been at the club for a number of years. Here she tells us more about life in lockdown, working in the NHS, and how she began her footballing career.

So Josie, tell us bit more what you have been doing during lockdown, with no football happening?

“I currently work in the NHS as a Specialist Sarcoma Physio, so a cancer physio, basically. I rehab the patients that have had bone tumours, soft-tissue tumours, amputees, or patients that have had to have metal work put into their legs to make sure they can get back walking and to daily life!  Most of my time is spent working full-time at St James’s in Leeds, but apart from that I’m an avid gym-goer, so I am a bit of a fitness freak. We also have another hobby of renovating houses in our spare time, so I like to keep busy!

“Initially when COVID hit, the wards were quite quiet as nobody wanted to come in, but now the backlog is huge and people turning up is really hitting us, we’re busy at the moment! You can never really switch off from work. But the job itself, it’s so rewarding, you see the patient from their initial diagnosis, so you let them know how you are going to treat it and how you can help them. You begin to really get to know someone, so it is really nice to be with them throughout their entire rehabilitation process and you get to figure out what they want from you."

So back to the pitch, how did you get into playing football and to where you are today?

“It’s an interesting one! I am one of three, I’m the middle child. My dad is a massive Leeds United fan and my brother was into rugby when he was younger. So my dad, growing up in Leeds, he was desperate for a kid who wanted to play football! He put me in my brother’s huge boots and shinpads that didn’t fit. He took me down to our local club when I was 10, they had just started a girls team and literally said off you go, go enjoy yourself! Ever since then I was hooked, I am a team person, I don’t like individual sports, I used to sprint in the 200m at national level for England, but I didn’t really enjoy it. Then I got scouted for the York RTC, so I did a season or two there and then got picked up through the system!

“I played against Leeds quite a lot and obviously they are such a massive name in sport. The atmosphere when you looked at them, the support they had, it was always brilliant. So I looked online and found that trials were coming up, so I got in touch and and just went from there. Everyone knows everyone in women’s football, so they knew me, I went for the trial and got in a few seasons ago. I was thinking ‘oh I have go to down and trial’ but it was really nice, you were made to feel really comfortable and welcome. It’s a positive environment where you are allowed to make mistakes and are helped to learn from them.”

So that’s how you got going in the game and joined the club, what can we expect to see from you as a player?

“I am a right-back. I used to be a striker when I was younger, because of my speed… But then everyone realised I couldn’t shoot. So my strength-training came in, I went to right-back and I am quite physical there. We’ve got a style we like to play with attacking wing-backs and it always depends on what formation we play, but for me I am a through-and-through defender. I like the element of that role, I like a hard tackle when needed! I can sprint up the pitch and join the attack but I am always the one sprinting back to cover a counter attack from the opposition too."

Just how proud and pleased are you to see the game growing, with global interest and coverage of  women’s football and to play for a club you love?

“I used to work as a physio at York RTC, the one I graduated from. It’s so nice to see that some of the girls there have progressed all the way through, one of the girls I worked with is at Man City now. It’s really nice to see that and to see them progressing as players is great. I feel like my kind of age range - anyone over 25 - has missed out a bit on this pathway through the age levels as it wasn’t as established when we were younger. We’ve got a couple of young players and they are way ahead of where I was at 19 or 20, and that’s what I like about Leeds, they are willing to play the younger players and give them the opportunity to get to a higher level with a bit of grit and determination.

“It’s so nice to see and I am proud to be a part of the community! Leeds United is a massive badge, people are proud to wear it and so am I. Everyone goes out showing it off and it is a great club to be a part of and represent, especially being local to the club as well and having family that are all massive fans.”

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