Jade Pennock of Sheffield United joined the club two years ago from Leeds United. Prior to this, Jade took the US athlete route and made her name in the sport. Jade recently caught up with Sportageous to talk about how she spent her time overseas playing football in the USA as a student and what’s on the horizon for her career.
Who are some of the footballers you grew up watching that you admire for their technique/skill and why?
I looked up to Kelly Smith a lot when I was younger, she has done a lot for the women’s game, the number of goals she could score was always something I wanted to achieve!
As for male footballers, I have always loved watching Messi, the way he can skip past defenders whilst keeping close control of the ball is something I have always tried to add to my game.
Whilst playing in America I played in the South which meant the weather was extremely hot, that was definitely something I had to overcome and adapt to.
You joined Sheffield United last summer, how was that experience for you?
I joined Sheffield United 2 years ago now, and I am about to go into my 3rd season with them. We have had 2 great seasons and we are now looking to go one further and get promotion this year.
You played football in the United States while completing your education, what was that like?
I spent 6 years in America playing and studying and they were some of the best years of my life!
I was able to develop as a player over there with the help of some fantastic coaches. I loved every minute of it and look back on some amazing memories.
You definitely had to adapt to new environments while playing in different parts of the world. Could you describe how football is unique in every area you’ve played in and how did you adapt accordingly?
Whilst playing in America I played in the South which meant the weather was extremely hot, that was definitely something I had to overcome and adapt to. Also, the players in America pride their self on their physical aspect of the game. Here I was able to develop my game with the help of strength and conditioning coaches.
Since coming back to England, I feel like I am a more rounded player after my time in America.
What are some of the challenges you faced transitioning from playing varsity football in the United States to playing for Sheffield in the UK?
I was extremely excited to come back to England and continue playing at a high level; I think my time in America prepared me and helped me develop into a player who was able to compete in the women’s championship.
A big hurdle is the fact that right now I am only a part-time footballer and I have a full-time job alongside. This makes it very hard for me to put my full focus on football.
As a woman, and as an athlete, are there any hurdles you’ve faced that was challenging to overcome?
For me personally, a big hurdle is the fact that right now I am only a part-time footballer and I have a full-time job alongside it. This makes it very hard for me to put my full focus on football. The funding is improving massively in the women’s game which is great to see and I am hoping in the near future I will be able to go full time in football.
What are your plans for the future regarding your career?
I am focused on this season and helping Sheffield United gain promotion into the WSL. We came close last year. With more practice, I know we can compete at the top level.
Which football tournament is your favourite and why?
I think to play in as well as to watch, my favourite competition in the FA Cup, this gives smaller teams the chance to go and upset big teams in different stages of the competition.
What would you recommend to someone pursuing the sport?
I think for anyone wanting to pursue a career in sport, you really have to work hard and be willing to put a lot of time in. You have to have a passion and love for the sport to make the sacrifices you have to make worth it in the end.
Any other advice/thoughts you’d like to put out there?
I’m a big advocate for the soccer scholarship route to America and do lots of work with a company called SRUSA, if anyone is interested in pursuing this, please get in touch!