Royals midfielder Lois Roche is the first to take part in our new ‘Royals in the Spotlight’ segment.
Lois has been with the Royals for a few years now and was instrumental in promotion from WSL2 last season, where she ended the season as a regular part of their extremely combative midfield. Lois is an excellent set-piece taker and has scored a few screamers from free kicks around the edge of the box, including a slightly deflected one away to Sunderland earlier this season!
Lois is a real fans’ favourite at Adam’s Park due to her passion and commitment, combined with the fact that she always makes time to chat to the fans after the games and share a few laughs. She has battled back from a persistent knee injury earlier this year and started the last match against Manchester City, who Reading face again on Sunday 28th August.
Here is what Lois had to say about how she got into the game, how she’s adapting to life as a pro and her aspirations for the future.
How did you get into football and which team do you support?
I got into football when I was really young. All my cousins are boys so we used to play football on the estate and I just fell in love with the game. My mum used to take me to the local youth club, ironically it was called boys club. They did football classes there every evening, I couldn’t get enough of it. In fact I still go back there from time to time to have a kick about in the hall with the kids and the coach (Johnny), were still really close and he still supports me till this day. For that I’m really grateful and lucky.
I support Manchester United. Of course. All real true United fans originate from London!
How did you end up at Reading and how long have you been here?
I came to Reading around 5 years ago I think for an opportunity to play first team football after spending 2 years at Arsenal Academy and playing in their reserve side. I wanted a new challenge and to test myself in a first team and Reading gave me that chance. To now be playing in the top league in the country, it’s been a great journey.
How Reading are you – have you been:
To Reading Festival? No
On a cruise along the Thames? Yes
To Reading Ikea? No
Stuck in a traffic jam on the A33? Not entirely sure where that is although I have probably spent half my life in it!
On Bracknell’s dry ski slope? No
To The Point in Bracknell? No
To The Look Out or Coral Reef? No
Guess you can take the girl out of London but can’t take the London out the girl.
Was going professional an easy decision for you and how has being pro changed your life?
An easy decision, ever since I could remember it has always been a dream of mine to be a professional footballer so to fulfill my dream, it was a no brainier.
If football hadn’t worked out for what do you think you’d be doing now?
Well before I signed pro I was a sports journalist so I reckon something along those lines. I can’t sit still so I’d never cut it in an office job.
How do you feel about the WSL1 season so far and your own performances?
The season so far has been an experience. To play in the top league in the country has been a great test for us and a great achievement from where we’ve come as players and a team. Unlucky in some aspects to not pick up a win yet in the league but I have faith in the group of players we’ve got that it won’t be long before we do so.
For myself it’s been a frustrating season due to the knee injury I picked up early on in the season. I felt I was playing well up until then, along with the team. Although I’m back now and fighting fit and enjoying every minute of it.
I know you spend a bit of time visiting some of the team in Bracknell? If you were rating it on Trip Advisor what would you give it and why?!
Haha I’ve never been that keen to rate anything on Trip Advisor so I wouldn’t know where to start. Although they do make lovely coffees at Swandale where Becky, Brutes, mol and Titch live. So would highly recommend that to anyone…
What do your evenings and days off from football generally consist of?
Not much really. I like to go to the gym and do weights on days off to keep myself ticking over. Maybe go cinema or catch up with friends outside of the football world. Or spend time with the family chilling on the sofa eating biscuits.
Have you been following the Olympics? What event do you think you’d be best at?!
Of course I’ve been following the Olympics, it’s been brilliant to see how well we’re doing, especially in the velodrome!!!
Probably be best at the long distant running events as I have the best training here at Reading running club!
What are your personal footballing ambitions?
It was always to become a professional footballer. Now I have fulfilled that anything else is a bonus! Although I have always said I would love to play abroad so maybe somewhere down the line I could tick that box as well.
What 3 things would you take to a desert island that you couldn’t live without?
(Never know when you might get a call up)
How supportive have your friends and family been throughout your career?
So supportive. My mum and dad have been there for me throughout my career taking me to training and games ever since I was young. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I just wish they would stop reminding me about it.
My friends within football are really supportive, whenever they haven’t got games and stuff they make sure they are there at my games, as am I for them. Although most of my friends ain’t really into football so I don’t think they have much of a clue. I like it that way!
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?!
What do you make of the changes to the format of the WSL for next season?
If it stops the breaks in season between fixtures then it will be welcomed with open arms by me!
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
Not really. Does that make me boring? I could make one up?
What advice would you give to any youngsters dreaming of a career in football?
Believe and trust in yourself and your own ability.
Any message to the fans for the remaining few games?
Just thank you for the continued support. I don’t think we can thank you enough, I believe we have the best/loudest fans in the league and having you at every game, home or away really does mean a lot to us girls. We hope we’re doing you proud.
So there we are! Definitely a bit of a Royals legend after her heroics last season and hopefully someone who will have a big part to play in the remaining WSL1 games, when the season starts again up in Manchester this coming Sunday.
Thanks to Lois for taking part. Next up will be vice captain, Lauren Bruton, who has just returned from England’s ‘Next Generation’ camp.
Watch Aimee Claypole talk to Lois Roche