Jess Fishlock is one of the busiest Soccer players in the world - we have spent time talking to her for this article while she was in Australia, America,Wales and England over the last few months!
Captain of the Welsh Football team and a Seattle Reign FC player, she has played for Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow City, AZ Alkmaar and Melbourne Victory
on her journey to greatness. Despite being so busy combining representative football for Wales as well as Seattle FC and Melbourne Victory in the off season,
Jess has always found time to talk with me - which in itself says a lot about her.
Regarded as one of best midfielders in the world, Jess has won respect and accolades from her peers by the plenty. In the WSL (Women’s Soccer League)
she was awarded the 2011 Club Player of the Year, 2011 Fans Player of the Year, and was voted in the WSL All-Star Team, as voted for by the WSL managers.
Jess was also awarded the 2012 Club Players Player of Year, 2012 Fans player of year and 2012 FA WSL Players player of year, voted by Jess Fishlock managers
and players of the FA WSL League; as well as making the NWSL and W-League teams of the year for the last two years plus winning League titles. All of this
and she, in our view, is still in her ascendancy as a player.
Jess is a good player in terms of skill, but also because of her workload, commitment to the team, her belief in a good ethos and her focus. When she
broke her wrist in the England qualifier, not only did she play on but played in a cast for the next qualifier in Montenegro. “It was such an important
match for us and I didn’t want to let the team down,” she says of the fact that there was no doubt in her mind that she would play.
Jess is a tough player in the mold of the greatest: team and loyalty are the top of her list. This is made clear when I talk with her about the Welsh
team. She may wear the captain’s armband but she talks at length about the team and that they all have their individual skills and that as a team they
work to each other’s strengths. This brings a closeness and connection that is invaluable, she says.
Why is Jess such a formidable player? The foundations she has built and the way she conducts herself have given her a solid stance. She doesn’t stand
still, she wants to and needs to push herself, to evolve all the time. “I’m a believer that you have to keep pushing yourself to keep growing and learning,”
she says of her career to date and in particular of her time in Seattle.
“Seattle has taught me a lot, the pressure was unlike any I have experienced”. The interesting thing for me is that despite all the accolades and the
world-class teams and players she has played with and for, her values guide her and they are important to her. “If you lose playing the way you want with
the right ethos, you then have a core of players that unite in an amazing way.” This is a commentary on her career and values, but also about what is being
built at Seattle Reign FC by Bill Predmore, the owner, and Laura Harvey, the General Manager. It is at odds with a lot of popular culture but….I
think it is one that is going to bear significant fruit over time.
“I’m a believer that you have to keep pushing yourself to keep growing and learning...”
Jess stands on the shoulders of giants - the women who went before and whom she strives to emulate and improve on, with a firm set of values guiding her.
This makes her not only a good player who sets herself the highest of standards, but one who won’t waver due to her focus and values. Jess is an athlete
of outstanding character who is recognised as such by her peers the world over.
Jess has grown a lot in the last couple of seasons and is very ready to acknowledge that. “I have learnt a lot about myself, I’ve grown as a person and
a player,” she reflects about the last couple of seasons. The good thing is that she isn’t introspective but determined to be the best, recognising what
needs to be worked at and what she is good at, whilst also knowing where she has come from. It’s a great balance to have and one that will continue to
pay dividends. We look forward to the 2014 season and what it holds for Jess.