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Club news

Our goal is to mirror the first-team's rise


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

For football fanatic Phil Davis, it really was a case of third time lucky.

A father to a hat-trick of girls, Phil always hoped one of them would take up the sport to help fuel his passion for the game.

And while older daughters Beckie and Amy preferred other pursuits, their younger sister Emma took to it like a duck to water.

Dad’s £8 investment in a first pair of boots put Emma on the road to becoming a first-team regular with AFC Bournemouth women’s team.   

Had it not been for the continued support and encouragement of parents Phil and Sue, Emma is convinced her skills as a versatile midfielder and defender could have gone to waste.

Now in her fifth season with the Cherries, Emma, a senior occupational therapist at an acute hospital, has been one of the team’s leading lights during another fruitful campaign to date.

“I’ve got two older sisters so my poor dad always had a houseful of women!” joked Emma. “He had to get one of us into football because it’s always been his passion. My sisters didn’t enjoy it but I got into it straightaway.

“When I first started playing for Blandford Girls, my dad would run the line and put up the nets. He was a big part of the club.

“I played for Broadstone Girls and then moved to Pen Mill in Somerset, my first women’s team. Mum and dad would run me all over the place for matches and training.

“I grew up in Essex and dad is a hardcore West Ham fan. It’s gone through the family and even our cats are named after West Ham players!

“Both him and mum have always been really committed and helpful. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to play at the level I am with Bournemouth.

“Dad is now a massive Bournemouth fan as well. Even though I don’t live at home now, my family tries to come to as many home games as they can.

"They spread the word on how the women’s team is getting on and their work colleagues are really interested.

“My dad will continue to be my number-one fan as long as I continue to play.”

Raised in Okeford Fitzpaine, Emma joined Parley just after starting a three-year Bachelors degree in occupational therapy at Bournemouth University.

She moved to AFC Bournemouth in the final year of her studies, scoring eight goals from midfield as they won promotion and the Hampshire Invitational Cup in her first season.

A key member of Steve Cuss’s squad, Emma has missed just one game in all competitions this season as they have climbed to the top of the Southern Region Premier League and booked a place in the final of the League Cup.

“Our goal is to mirror the first-team’s rise,” said Emma. “We know we can do better and feel we should be at a higher level. We have the staff, the players, the facilities and the backing of the club.

“It’s amazing how much the team has grown over the past four or five years and we want to keep progressing and go as high as we can.

“There is a lot more media coverage of the women’s team and there has been a massive drive in the past couple of years. It’s all been really positive.

“In terms of what we get as players, we train two or three times a week, we get proper training kit, we get to go to Premier League games, we get to meet the players and we get to go to the end of season presentation evening.

“It’s a real motivator to want to keep achieving and to go through the levels and play as high up the pyramid as possible.”

During her stay at Parley, Emma earned the nickname ‘Bambi’, a moniker which has stuck with her at AFC Bournemouth.

She said: “Ever since I’ve been at Bournemouth, nobody has known me as Emma. Even my manager calls me Bambi.

“When I was at Parley, we were doing a drill and I looked like a deer on ice. I’ve got quite long legs and someone called me Bambi.

“As I can be a little uncoordinated at times, it stuck. I wouldn’t say I was clumsy but because I’m a fast runner, sometimes, my legs work a bit too quick for my brain so I think that’s where it comes from.”

Emma’s role as a senior occupational therapist has been made more challenging by the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

She said: “We are generally busy all the time and, in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are just trying to protect ourselves a bit more and protect our patients.

“We still want to see any patients who are being screened for the virus and still want to make sure we can get them home or back to care homes.

"We are adhering to the government policy and being guided by infection control and the people above us.

“My current role is with the front of house therapy team and we cover the emergency department and two rapid assessment units.

“Our goal as therapists is to try to avoid patients staying in hospital longer than they need to.   

“The medical team or nurses will refer a patient and we will assess them, looking at their ability to mobilise and their ability to manage at home.

"We look at things like how they are doing with getting washed and dressed and what we can put in place to optimise their independence.”

Earlier this season, Emma and some of her team-mates were invited to take part in the Crossbar Challenge at Vitality Stadium, an experience she will not forget in a hurry: “It was really cold and very slippery.

“Rosie Eden, one of my team-mates, completely stacked it. She kicked the ball and fell over.

“It was quite funny, especially in front of 11,000 people. She got some stick and all the fans started chanting ‘she fell over!’

“Fortunately, she got straight back up and didn’t need any treatment or occupational therapy!”

Crossbar Challenge picture: (left to right) Rosie Eden, Emma Davis, Abby Jones, Becky Miles and Katelyn Wort. 

My dad will continue to be my number-one fan as long as I continue to play

Emma Davis

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