Getting Acquainted with Ladies Football: Aston Villa
By Kim Tate
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Erin Vaughan,currently playing at right back for Aston Villa Ladies FC, who made a name for herself in the states after playing for a season in the WPSL (Women's Premier Soccer League.) Residing in Wellington, United Kingdom, she also plays for the Welsh Senior team. Vaughan and the Villa Ladies have won their last 6 games, including a 1-0 victory yesterday over rivals West Bromwich Albion in League Cup play, securing second place in Group 3 and advancing to the last eight. In their Prem standings, they currently sit in fourth place behind Leeds United, Sunderland, and League - leading Watford. My conversation with Vaughan comes after her successful season with top level Issaquah Soccer Club in Washington State, who saw their inaugural season finish in 2nd place, and where she had on the upwards on 15 assists, making quite an impression among locals and women's soccer fans. She speaks with me about her time with Villa, training, and ladies football in England v. USA.
You’ve come from a women’s team in England who many know well: Aston Villa Ladies Football Club. How long have you played for them, and how is your current season going?
I have been playing for Villa for 7 years now. I joined because I wanted to better myself as a player while I had also joined the Welsh Senior Team. We had a slow to start the season as we had new young players and a new manager to get used to, but now we have found our feet and are playing some really great football. We finished 3rd in our league last year and hope to better than that and push for top 2. We’re currently playing for the League Cup so I’m pretty excited about that.
How is the style of play in England different than here in the states?
I think the biggest difference is we play quicker ball here in England, our touch on the ball is quicker. The girls in America have a fitness advantage; they get to train every day, where back home we only train twice a week and play on Sundays. Our season starts in August and lasts till May with a 2 week break for Christmas.
What is the toughest Ladies team you’ve played against in England for Villa?
I played against Arsenal Ladies - they are a group of top class players. I think we lost 8-1 in the game I played against them, but I did score that 1 goal!
Have you always played at right back? What other positions can or do you assume when you’re on the pitch if necessary?
I used to play right wing up until 18 years old when I went to play with Wales, and they turned me into an attacking right back. I can play anywhere along the back 4.
What is your training schedule like for Aston Villa?
We train twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2 hours each, and play our games every Sunday. Keeping my fitness levels up is important obviously so I also go to the gym Mondays and Wednesdays.
Is women’s soccer as popular in England as it is here in the USA, and do you think England will attract any big names from the US?
Women’s football is slowly becoming bigger in England. College football (soocer) is massive in America and ours here isn’t. Since the Olympics, there has been a lot more hype and advertising for the ladies game which is really nice to see. There are a lot of womens teams at all different standards over here. Some of the bigger teams have support from their men's clubs. We at Villa are lucky to have somewhere good to train, get kit, and a ground to play at. Some teams have to fund themselves. As for American players coming to England, I don't think England will attract any big names anytime soon in the womens game. Unfortunately there isn't really any money in the game, at least not enough that would satisfy any big names who are already making lots of money in the US. But I am hopeful.