In the latest of our In Profile series we caught up with Team GB’s American Football captain Phoebe Schecter, the girl who can do it all! She can play just about every sport going, coaches, is a PT and a role model to the next generation of budding stars
My name’s Phoebe. I’m originally from the States and now live in the UK. My mom is British so I’m fortunate enough to have dual citizenship and I moved over to England four years ago to work as a rider for a member of the Dutch Olympic Team.
How did you get into American Football?
I got into American Football after seeing an ad on Facebook about some local American Football trials. I got involved as a way to meet new people and get in a bit of US culture. I also passed the exams to become a personal trainer and a year later I’ve been doing it ever since!
You defo have sport in the blood, please tell us when it all began.
I’ve always been involved in sport. Growing up I rode horses, gymnastics, played softball and ran cross country. I was the only girl on the boys basketball team although my main sport was lacrosse. I learned to play American football in England and I’ve now been introduced to Kabaddi (contact team sport that originated in ancient India in Tamil Nadu).
That’s such a tricky question! I love both Kabaddi and American football! Kabaddi gives me such an adrenaline rush, since it becomes a one-on-one situation. However, there is no team experience like American Football. My team-mates have become my family for both teams! I don’t think I could genuinely choose. Last year I had my first go at rugby at a charity tournament with the Birmingham Lions American football team and loved it. If I get time I would really like to give that a proper go!
There are a couple people in sport, who I really admire. The first athlete is Bethany Hamilton, the pro-surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack. For someone to overcome what she has and then get back out there and compete successfully, is inspiring. Another athlete, that I loved to watch play, was Ray Lewis. He is an immense american football player, who plays with passion! Lastly, growing up, Mia Hamm, the US soccer player, was a huge role model. To me, she made it okay for women to be playing sports and she was so proud of what girls could do!
When I was first appointed Team captain of the GB Women’s American Football team, about 2 years ago, it was right before our home game qualifier versus Russia. I can’t describe how honoured and proud I felt then and still feel! I feel like Britain is my home, despite having an American accent. Every player, staff, and coach have put in the blood, sweat, and tears from the beginning, to get this squad to where we are today. My heart, my country with American Football, will always be with Great Britain.
Looks like you have also been working in the media, please share….
My radio experience with BBC 5 Live NFL Show a few months ago was so eye opening! I love a challenge,and although I have done some bits with radio interviews in the past, this put me completely out of my comfort zone. I was in studio for hours and commenting on the games, having conversations. Shooting Shark Productions were such a welcoming team to work with and my co-host Charles Dagnall and Greg Brady made me feel so comfortable. If that role became available I’d love to be considered and shine a different light of a player/coach to the audience.
Tell us more about Kabaddi, we know we aren’t alone in NOT knowing what it actually is.
Circular Kabaddi is what I played out in India just before Christmas. Think of it like a mix between rugby, wrestling, mixed martial arts, and British bulldog! The basics are you have a 4 defenders (stoppers) and 1 tagger (raider), the raider has 30 seconds to tag one of the 4 stoppers and get back to the line. As a stopper, which is where I play, we can attack the raider right away, or allow them to make the first move. However, it becomes a one-on-one situation once contact has been made, then the stopper will try and do whatever they can to stop the raider getting back to the starting gate. If the stoppers are successful they get the point. If the raiders make it back to the gate then the team gets a point.
I got into it through a girl from New Zealand who was living over in the UK and played for an American Football team here. I went to an England practice and before you know it I was playing and then was named captain of the team…crazy!
Despite playing sports some may not perceive to be ladylike I still like to feel feminine. When I found out about ZAAZEE, it was originally the sport bras that I loved! I’m a PT, therefore I live in workout clothes and I have come to embrace the uni-boob sport bra look! When I met with Deb, she was so welcoming and we were completely on the same wave length. I wear the sports bras and her amazing workout pants all the time! As those who wear workout pants know, the struggle is real when it comes to finding good material, at an affordable price and ones that don’t fall down when you squat!
On the agenda
In March I head to Mauritius with England Kabaddi to compete in a beach tournament, in June, the Great Britain Women’s American Football team head to Canada to compete in the Women’s World Championships and towards the end of August, I go off to Prague with the Great Britain Women’s American Football flag team for the European Championships! Thats what I have booked in currently, but I don’t doubt there will be more added to that schedule! Travelling with the team, experiencing all these different cultures together is completely eye opening! It is great to bond, but it really makes you appreciate how fortunate we are to have these special opportunities and lifestyles for that matter.
I love how ZAAZEE wants to help out people and sometimes, just by helping girls feel more confident in their bodies, is great enough! Maybe we can sort out some beach Kabaddi kit, to spread to word to the rest of the world!