Football Rebooted - Shelly Provan
What has your football journey been like up until now?
My name is Shelly Provan. I currently play for Southampton FC Women where I am Club Captain. I am also a PE teacher at Romsey School, but my main job is being a mummy to my two children Austin (6) and Evie (4).
I started playing football as soon as I could walk. My parents do not remember a time when I did not have a ball at my feet. In my younger years I was the only girl playing in boys’ teams. This gave me the motivation to prove that I could be as good as them and change perceptions of girls playing football. I hope that I have done this along the way.
I was lucky to have male teachers who encouraged me to play, so I hope that I can do the same in my job and encourage other girls to play also.
I have been lucky enough to play for England at all youth team age groups and have played at two U19 European Championships and an U19 World Cup. I have also represented Great Britain at The World University Games. I have played for several teams at Super League and National League levels, including Birmingham, Reading, Bristol, and Notts County.
What did you try to capture with your photos? Was there a wider meaning with the photos?
The photos were taken mainly at matches with Southampton FC on our incredible journey this season. This season we have so far managed to win the Southern National League and The League Cup. We are aiming to win the play off against Wolves to earn promotion to the Championship which would be huge for the club. I joined the club four years ago in hope that I could help the team get to this point.
I wanted to show the team cohesion, the impact of sport on my life, the importance of family, and how I want to be a positive role model for my children. I also showed some of my children taking part in sport, as I want sport to have a positive impact on their lives in the same way it has impacted my life.
The photo of me with my children with the trophies is my favourite. They are my biggest supporters and the team have become superb role models for them both. I am very pleased that I have been able to play football with them around to see us play and achieve what we have done.
What does football mean to you and your community?
Football has always played a big role within my family and in the community where I grew up – Fair Oak near Southampton. I grew up with my dad playing and we would play the in the local parks after school. It kept us active and out of trouble, something my parents are very grateful for!
Football has given me the most amazing life lessons and experiences. You come up against many challenges – for me that has been not having contracts renewed at clubs, coming back from two pregnancies, and overcoming the dreaded ACL injury! But you are always stronger than you think. Setbacks can always be overcome and the lessons from these situations grow you as a person mentally and physically.
Football has helped me to deal with highs and lows, enabled me to meet incredible people, and see wonderful places around the world – I will always remember Vancouver Island when the U19 World Cup was held in Canada, and loved Iceland when travelling with England squads.
How did you hear about Football Rebooted?
I heard about Football Rebooted through Southampton and my teammates, as several Southampton players from the Men's and Women's teams have contributed to the initiative this season, including Kyle Walker-Peters, Laura Rafferty and Dynel Simeu. Recycling our boots is a really easy way of helping the environment and supporting the next generation of young players.
What do you think the future looks like for football in your community? What do you want to change?
I hope that football in my community involves more and more girls. Southampton have created some amazing role models - which I did not have so much of as a youngster. I want football to be the norm for girls and for girls to always be accepted as “footballers” not “female footballers”.
My local village has just started a girls’ team - Clarenden FC. Volunteer parents have come together to provide a lovely training environment for them. I can see it getting bigger and bigger over the next year or so and I am excited to see how it evolves.
Do you think Football Rebooted could help get more girls playing football if free boots are easily available?
I believe getting boots is the first step for girls. My mum was reluctant to buy me boots as a young girl as she did not see football as being ‘girly’. I hope that the Football Rebooted initiative will help encourage girls to take that first positive step without judgement.
Is there anything you think football players and fans can do to be more environmentally sustainable?
I think Southampton has come on massively in how they are becoming more and more environmentally friendly. A huge part of this is plastic bottles not being used so much and lunch bags becoming 100% recyclable!
I like to ride my bike places instead of drive where I can. Where I live is beautiful and a lovely place to cycle. My kids love to ride too.