Despite a disrupted season, Katie Kingshott is loving every minute of being back with AFC Bournemouth Women.
After the lockdown in March brought a premature end to the 2019/20 campaign, the energetic midfielder decided to take some time out of the game as non-elite football endured a period of uncertainty.
With Steve Cuss’ side back up-and-running six months later, Kingshott quite simply couldn’t stay away and is relishing her role in the side gunning for promotion from the Southern Region Women’s Premier League.
Speaking with afcb.co.uk, she began by discussing a rather interrupted start to the season.
“It’s a very odd one, especially for me because I initially decided not to play football for a while. Then I realised that was the worst decision of my life!
“Coming back was nice. I’d been back three or four weeks and I’d started to feel quite fit again.
“I initially got some minutes with Dave Staddon in the Development Team. That was against Southampton Women and that was my first 90 minutes back.
“I was actually very surprised at getting 90 minutes but you can never complain, so that was nice.
“The first game back was a challenge, I didn’t really keep myself very fit for the seven months that I didn’t play but to get 90 minutes in a game where it was very testing was good.
“Sadly, we lost but I’d much rather have a challenging game than turn up and just coast through something, so that set me up for getting back into it.
“After that, I can’t really remember the order of the fixtures – I just turn up and play football!”
As Kingshott was finally finding her rhythm having been absent on a pitch for so long, a second lockdown was the last thing she needed ahead of what is normally a busy festive period.
“I was getting back into it and then we were told we were going into another lockdown,” she continued.
“It was quite demotivating, but I think the girls stuck to the goals that we set ourselves.
“We had such a good start and a good run in the FA Cup, it was enough to keep us going and keep us hungry for more.
“Unfortunately, we’re out of the FA Cup now but I’ve always been a bigger fan of the league personally.
“It’s something that you work hard towards all season and, I know you get the bigger games and the profile with the FA Cup, but I find it more rewarding personally in the league.
“Unfortunately, Covid has played a big part in our season so far and we’ve only played one league game and that was a great win against Oxford.
“We’ve got some of our own players who live in tier four, I think there’s about four of us but it’s not just us it affects as some of our opposition teams are in tier four as well.”
Despite the setback, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the former Chelsea and Whyteleafe player, who believes the time with her teammates is as valuable as ever.
With Dorset being placed in tier two, Cuss’ side are still able to train twice-a-week and make up for the lack of football on the weekends.
Kingshott added: “I’m quite grateful that we can still train. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen as we haven’t got any more games until after Christmas.
“But we’ve got training as normal, so the actual Christmas break isn’t too bad – I like to keep going.
“It’s not always the actual football that we play which is important, it’s being around everybody and keeping spirits high which is a massive thing this year. It definitely keeps me sane!”
Kingshott concluded by stating how standards certainly haven’t slipped in spite of the lack of match action, with the four summer signings more than playing their part.
“I feel that the new girls have settled in well.
“They’re all really nice and really approachable, and they certainly bring a lot of strength and character to the team.
“Given that, I think the girls who were here last season seem to have improved as well.
“The standard from everyone seems to have been lifted. I don’t know if that’s because we’ve had some very good players come in and it’s upped the standard of training, but everybody seems to have raised their game and it’s a fight every week for that shirt.
“Everybody is so passionate so sometimes it’s actually quite hard to see when your friends don’t get played, but that’s the nature of football and Steve has a job to do.”
AFC Bournemouth Women are proudly supported by two local companies.
Thank you to Bournemouth University for being the front of shirt sponsor and thank you to Vitality for supporting our women’s and girls' setup.