The UCFB Academy, Wembley team at UCFB Wembley had a hugely successful season, winning the BUCS League South Eastern Tier 2A in an unbeaten season. Among their ranks is Evie Gane, a BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law student who backed up her team’s success with the individual achievement of earning a trial and then signing for WSL Championship side London Bees. Here, Evie tells us her own story of a rollercoaster of a season, both on and off the pitch…

Reflecting on my first year at UCFB I have no regrets, just memories which will stay with me forever. As league champions and meeting some of my best friends, the academy is a set-up that I am proud to be a part of. I started off the year in a bad place mentally and physically, and for the first time in 15-years, not wanting to play the game I loved anymore. The UCFB academy changed this.

At the time I was playing club football for third-tier Oxford United Women in the Women’s Southern Premiership. The academy was supportive in me combining club football with academy football, allowing me to benefit from both.  I then decided to take a step back from club football to try and get the love back again. During this time, I played weekly games for the academy which allowed me to express myself and play in a more relaxed environment. Further to this the equipment and facilities the academy provided to us all were great. We had access to a physio, all games were filmed, individual clips were made and we also wore GPS’s on match-days. This helped all of the players in our development.

Kevin (Braybrook, UCFB Academy head coach) was very supportive to me during this time, helping me get my confidence and self-belief back. With his contacts he also managed to get me a trial at Championship side London Bees who were a 15-minute journey from UCFB Wembley. A couple weeks later I signed for them and since then my career has been on the up and I’m now enjoying football again. I love the environment Lee Burch (London Bees manager) has created, and it’s an environment that pushes me as much as possible, as we play within a highly competitive competition. 

Without the continuous support from Kevin and the academy, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The academy allowed me to stay match fit when I wasn’t playing club football, but also allowed me to experience a different side of football. It gave me that push to not give up on the game I loved and to get my head down and work hard. I’m looking forward to next year with the academy, to pushing on as a team and hopefully winning more silverware.