Making it Official: Interview with Laura Dye

Here at the Full10Yards, our goal is to help those involved in American Football wishing to pursue a coaching or officiating path to achieve those aspirations. We do this through our “Make it Official scheme”, more details and the registration form can be found here.

You can find our other interview with our 1st inductee into our Brit “Ball of Fame”, Dale Russell here.

In this interview, we talk to the 2nd person inducted into our Brit “Ball of Fame”, Cheshire Bears Women’s team member, Laura Dye.


Name:
Laura Dye #61

Team(s): 
Cheshire Bears Women’s, Merseyside Nighthawks

Years played:
7 Years


Favourite players/team supported (pros):
Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Donald, TJ Watt, Luke Kuechly, Tyrann Mathieu to name a few!

How did you get into the sport?
I was attending a Liverpool Pride event back in Summer 2014 and was given a leaflet for the Chester Roman’s Womens American Football team (who are now known as the Cheshire Bears) and the rest is history!

Did you watch the sport prior to playing? (Any teams?)
I used to watch NFL on Channel 4 and I originally began following the 49ers, Redskins  and the Patriots because I liked their jersey colours, but I am definitely a Pats fan now

What was the one thing you learned that you never realised once you stepped on to the field?
The complexity of the sport; I had no idea how planned and how ‘situational’ the game can be. The level of planning the coaches need to do so players can focus on actually playing is crazy!

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Favourite playing moment?
Playing for Great Britain against Finland in the World Championships 2017 held in Vancouver – After that game it felt like we’d won the tournament after previously losing to Finland in the final of the European Championships back in 2015

Any bad injuries? Yourself or someone else during a game?
I’ve torn my ACL, damaged my knee meniscus, snapped ATFL in my ankle, broken fingers, broken ribs, concussion – You name it I’ve probably broken it. Would I do it all again? 100% Yes! Being injured has taught me how to be mentally tough in all situations 

Least favourite thing about the UK Game?
Lack of coverage, funding and coaching – The UK would benefit getting coaches in from overseas to build the knowledge of coaches within the UK and pass that forward on to players in the UK. I also think that anyone who represents their sport at a National Level for GB should not have to ‘pay to play’ either

What made you want to get into coaching?
When I first started watching the NFL, I loved watching the Harbaugh brothers on the side-line, using their headsets and talking behind their play-call sheets; from when I started playing I knew when I was coming to the end of my playing career that I wanted to learn to be a coach. Now that a lot of time has passed and I’ve watched many documentaries on all levels of coaching (mainly in the states) I like seeing the positive impact the coaches have on players on and off the field and would love to hopefully have a positive impact on players within the UK in a similar way 

How did you find us and the scheme and what persuaded you to register?
Facebook – If I’m honest I registered just on the off chance that I could get picked to have my Level One paid for and never expected to actually get the funding but here we are!

What would you say to someone thinking about playing the sport?
Just give it a go; there is genuinely a position for every body shape, type and fitness level in American Football. Being involved in this sport has completely changed my life personally; I met my wife playing football, I have travelled to parts of the world I’d never been before playing and I have made friends for life along the way

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Anything you would like to see introduced into the sport? Any improvements that can be made in your opinion?
Better coaching resources and definitely more funding for Grass Roots and National Programmes. It would be good if a roadmap was created for someone who either starts out playing through a Youth programme into Adult Contact or Adult Contact into potentially coaching / team staff

Is there any ways you think more could be done to help encourage more ladies to participate?
I think having strong female leaders within the Britball community is a starting point; seeing female coaches and players like Phoebe Schecter and Laura Moore doing what they do definitely helped me when it came to making the decision to go down the route of coaching. As the Women’s League is now running over ‘Summer’ months this will hopefully allow women who already play a contact sport like rugby over the Winter months will come and use some of their transferable skills to come and play American Football too. Last but not least, social media – Teams need to get better at recruiting and reaching out to local gyms, sports centres and anywhere to make more women aware that #weplaytoo and we’re pretty good at it

Do you attend the London games? Do you think we’ll get an NFL Franchise?
I have attended a couple of games over the years – I’ve only gone to see games with players I want to see; like Donald and Mathieu. I would love to see Gronk play but doubt they’ll be coming over here anytime soon!
I’m not sure whether we’ll get an NFL Franchise over in the UK; it would be good for the sport to have more exposure on TV and at the London Games but it would be even better if there was resources available for people attending the games to know about teams and games in their area as this may be something they want to get involved in as a player, team staff or even a future coach

**Laura is taking her BAFA Level 1 course starting on 3rd May 2021.**
**We will keep you informed of her progress!**
If you would like to register for our scheme, head over to https://full10yards.com/scheme/ where you can register your interest.
If you are selected, we could help subsidise the costs to get qualified as a coach or an official!

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