Rachel Innes is a right winger and right full back for Whyteleafe Ladies FC, who currently sit top of the Greater London Women’s Football league premier division, after thus far going unbeaten this campaign. Rachel has been with Whyteleafe Ladies for two seasons, having joined the club from Fulham Ladies. Rachel is our first female footballer on our 1-on-1 series, and she gave us some great answers
What are your earliest memories of playing football, what got you into playing the game?
I was about Six years old, and I played football with some of my friend’s brothers in the park. This lead to me going to the local boy’s league, and I just remember being the only girl there for years!
Who have been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?
This season it would probably be the Isthmian Cup semi-final against West Ham United. We were most definitely seen as the underdogs in that game. Mentally, we had no choice but to block out a lot of talk from outside commentators, as we were expected to lose to a score well into double figures, but we knew for sure that was not going to be the case. Physically, we are a strong team and in my opinion each player really did show their strength and grit in that game. We had to be physical as we knew we were not going to be as fit as them, as we only train as a team once a week, which in my opinion made the difference as we were running on fumes by the end. They are an organised team with a strong central midfield, and it was great to play against a team of their ability.
Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?
Ahh, I cant choose just one as there are so many great players! I grew up playing football in and around Aberdeen, so I played with and against Rachel Corsie and Kim Little a lot. Kim is a fantastic player and so clinical in front of goal!
Katie Kingshott who joined leafe this year is extremely quick and just does not stop, she would be up there as one of the best I’ve played with for sure. Physically and mentally, Giorgia Dunne and Steph Mann who play for Whyteleafe, are the strongest players I’ve ever played with or against. There really is no getting past them!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?
The best advice that has really worked for me is simply ‘play with grit’. Negative self-belief has been a huge reason for what I have felt have been my poor performances. I now make sure before every kick-off, I remind myself to play with grit and to win my individual battles.
What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Italian… shock! Who’s isn’t?!
If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?
Good question. That our season be throughout summer? I really can not cope in the bitterly cold winter weather!
Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?
My favourite ever player has got to be Ronaldinho. He was sensational!
What has been the best game you have been involved in?
A game that stands out was probably recently against West Ham. We really showcased for ourselves more than anyone how much we play for each other as a team. It was great to see every player leave everything they had on the pitch, and walk off knowing they had given what they could for the cause.
And finally, what do you aim to achieve in your time with Whyteleafe Ladies?
I want us to win the league and gain promotion this year! Looking further ahead, I would love for Charlie, Harry and the girls to play as high up in the women’s game as possible, and keep working for promotions.
Tomorrow night’s radio programme will be focusing on the women’s game. We will have guests from Lewes Ladies, Margate Ladies, Worthing FC Ladies and Whyteleafe Ladies. We’re hoping it will be a great insight for out listeners on the women’s game, so be sure to tune in at 7pm tomorrow via backofthenetsouth.co.uk
To keep up to date with all the latest goings on at back of the net, for information on our whereabouts, radio show and special features, follow us across social media at @OfficialBOTN. Rachel Innes can also be found on twitter at @RachelMFI, as can I @adam__willmott.