Katie Knights: ‘The fitness you get from football is good for everything’

As part of Boro Active Explorers initiative to engage communities in Brambles & Thorntree and North Ormesby with their local environment, increase physical activity and improve mental wellbeing, we’ve been fortunate enough to meet and interact with local people of all ages.

One of these people is 13-year-old Katie from Thorntree, who got involved with Boro Active Explorers through our delivery partner Community Ventures’ Nature Journaling course.

When Katie is not out exploring the local community and getting involved in projects, she’s inspiring it through football.

Katie’s interest in football began when she was six as a keen spectator on the sidelines, watching her brothers play junior football on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

A year later, she was a key player in the same team.

Fast forward five years and football is still her main passion. She trains or plays five days a week to continually improve her game. And on the days she’s not kicking a ball, she watches others play — studying the game to learn new things.

“I’ve loved football since the first time I watched it. I love playing it and enjoy the challenge of the game in training and coming up against other teams. The fitness you get from football is good for everything. Not just sport, but your overall health and the way you feel.

“It’s been a great way to meet new people as well. I’m friends with many people because of football. Not just the other players in my team, but players from other teams and people that share an interest in sport and being active.”

Katie is proudly flying the flag for girls in football. She plays for Grangetown under 14’s girl’s team and is the only female player for Whinney Banks Boys, under 14’s.

This is something she wants to keep doing long term, hopefully turning it into a career as a professional in the Women’s Super League and a future Lioness.

“I would love to play for England one day if I could. But if not, I’d like to play for one of the big clubs in women’s football, like Manchester United.”

As a football coach and father who has spent countless hours playing football with his daughter and helping her train in all weathers in gardens and parks, in the street and on training pitches – as well as travelling all over the north east on weekends to coach and support her in matches – Katie’s dad, Anthony Knights, is confident she has what it takes to achieve her ambitions.

“She’s got a talent. She’s just got to keep working on it and keep believing in herself. The sky’s the limit.”

Katie has a bright future and a happy present thanks to her love of football and being active. If her passion and ambition are inspiring you to start kicking a ball around or look for new ways to get active, we’ll leave you with these motivating words:

“Just start now. Don’t wait for anyone or anything. Just start off going on walks or runs or gradually get better.

“Do more things to keep fit and active and also try to eat healthy with it as you get more benefits.”

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