Nailsea's Rebecca Holloway is 'loving' life with WSL outfit Birmingham City
PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 September 2019
Rebecca Holloway says she is 'loving' her time with Birmingham City after signing this summer and is in line to make her debut at home to Everton this Sunday.
Having started to play football at the age of five for Nailsea Boys, Holloway went onto play for Clevedon Town Girls, Bristol City, Somerset Girls and Bristol Academy before heading to America in August 2015.
Having spent four years with Cumberland University and playing for Nashville Rhythm during the summer, Holloway admits being at the Midlands club is something special.
"I'm absolutely loving it," she said. "Everything about it, the environment is so much healthier than any environment I've ever been a part of throughout my career in football.
"It's just such a family environment, everyone is so friendly and they look to build and develop you more as a player.
"Being at the professional level everything is much more competitive, but the players and coaching staff still want to see you thrive and reach potential you may not know that you have as a player.
"They also really care about you as an individual and take the time to get to know you and not just see you as another number for the squad."
After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Sports & Exercise Sciences in May, Holloway admits she didn't expect a move to the FA WSL would happen as quickly as it did.
"Coming out of college, I was not expecting to sign," she added.
"I was expecting to maybe go to a lower level in Europe and work my way up.
"I always knew I would work my way there, but when I found out I was playing in the WSL, I was taken back and didn't trust myself as a player and what I was really capable of and it was amazing to know that Birmingham saw that."
Despite her success, 24-year-old Holloway admits she will never forget Nailsea, the town she grew up in, adding: "I love my hometown. If I could come back more often I would.
"I spent all my time growing up there and I still have family there. To come out as a professional from a small town really speaks volumes and I'm proud of that."
Holloway, who identifies herself as a midfielder, says Jess Fishlock is a player she looked up to and has followed her footballing journey.
"She was a role model when I was at Bristol, I looked up to her massively before she made the move to Seattle," she added.
"I was obviously the young 16/17 year old and she was a Bristol first-team player, Welsh international and I just remember getting called up to first-team practice and being in awe that I was able to train alongside such a great player.
"She would give me advice on what to do better, work on this and maybe if you put your body shape this way, things like that.
"I've even kept up with her journey at Seattle and to the W-League in Australia as those were leagues that sparked my interest before I made the decision to go to university in Tennessee."
With women's football on the up, Holloway calls on girls to carry on with it.
"Just stick with it," She added.
"So many girls in the States just stop playing after they graduate which kills me because they have so much potential to pursue a professional career.
"Obviously it's hard to speak on behalf of the girls in England but definitely in the US I believe it's a talent wasted, especially if they've had a great college career and with the way the women's game is going now and with the help of the World Cup this summer I would just say stick with it. Keep working hard because you don't know what the future holds.
"I never expected to make it to one of the highest levels coming from the small college I did, but I had a fantastic college career earning MSC (Mid-South Conference) player of the year back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.
"I definitely think girls need to keep pursuing a dream in football because it's only going to keep growing and hopefully I can be a role model just like Fishlock was to me."
The Blues host Everton on Sunday at 2pm and Holloway is excited to get started in the WSL and hopes to make her debut.
"I think when I step onto the field and hopefully earn a starting spot it will hit me that I'm competing against some of the best teams and players in the world," she said.
"Right now it still hasn't hit me and I don't think it will until the first game of the season, but I am really looking forward to what I can bring to Birmingham and what we can do as a team."