Gemma Hillier certainly has an eye for winning trophies.
From the Hampshire Senior Cup, which she’s lifted 16 times previously, to standing on the stage at the World Beach Games representing Team GB, silverware is nothing new for the forward.
With AFC Bournemouth now in the quarter-final of this year’s Hampshire Senio Cup, taking on Southampton Women reserves on Sunday, Hillier is keen for her side to continue their progression in the competition, having already knocked out favourites Pompey.
It’s another game to look forward to for high-flying Cherries, who remain unbeaten in league competitions this season, but Hillier admitted that this week the focus is solely on the cup.
“I won the Hampshire Senior Cup 16 times with Portsmouth, so I’d love to win it playing for AFC Bournemouth,” she said.
“I watched the final last year and I was inspired by the passion of the team when they won, especially Katie Scadding whose heroics saving that penalty was incredible.
“For the club to knock out Portsmouth who are in the league above two years running is a great achievement in itself. Winning the trophy two years running would be very special too, so I hope we can!”
Having re-joined the club in the summer, Hillier discussed the pride she feels in wearing the armband and representing the group as their captain.
She speaks of the special squad that Steve Cuss’ side have this season, crediting the work-rate, passion and drive from every player.
“As I said from the start of the season, captaining any club is a huge privilege and I’ve been lucky enough to captain each team I’ve played for, but this group of players at AFC Bournemouth are the hardest working team I have been a part of.
“With such a vast difference in ages across the squad, it’s a sentiment to every player regarding the work rate and dedication that they put in week in, week out on and off the pitch.
“Every player is so supportive of each other, and even players fighting for the same position are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, which says a lot about the ethos that has been built this season.
“As a team, we know the final goal we want to get to at the end of the season, but we know the process is even more important, so if we train hard and with the intensity and quality that the manager and coaches ask for, we know that sets us up well for each game day.”
Hillier went on to discuss the team’s overall aim for the remaining four months of the season, with sights firmly set on promotion from their National League division.
She believes the Cherries have all the attributes to compete in step three of the women’s football pyramid, having proved their worth against the very best in that league.
“The main ambition is to gain promotion, the club has all the foundations and backing to play in the league above, and beating Portsmouth in the cup shows we already have the players to compete at the top of that league.
“We know that only one team gets promoted from our league, so we just have to focus on the next match, taking on board each game plan that the manager gives us and putting it into action.
“It would be easy to look further ahead, but there is still a long way to go, including the two huge games against Exeter!
“I believe we have the strongest squad and we know every player will be needed to do a job between now and of the season, so I’m really excited to continue with the matches and see what we can do!”