Gaby Knops Ballin’ in Seattle
In March 2019 Gaby Knops will be boarding a flight to the pacific north west coast of America to join up with her new team mates on the Seattle Majestics women’s tackle football team. This will be the next step on her football journey, and her biggest challenge yet.
At just twenty years of age the Newcastle native already has a very impressive CV. A two-way phenom with the Leeds Chargers and a stand out starter for the Great Britain national side, she’s looking to take the next step in her career and that means heading out west to play in the Women’s National Football Conference Western Division for the Majestics. Whilst Gaby was representing Great Britain at the 2017 Women’s World Championships in Canada, she struck up a friendship with American player Ashley Young who was on the support staff for the event, and is now on the Majestics roster. Young showed Knops’ highlight film to the Seattle coaching staff and they were sold on adding the Brit to their roster.
Although this will be the first season for the WNFC, the Majestics themselves are a well-established programme and have been in existence for fifteen years. They will be looking to utilise Knop’s physicality and will be deploying her as a fullback/tight end hybrid. The season doesn’t start until May, so Gaby will have two months of OTA’s to acclimate to the city, her team mates, the coaches and the playbook. She will be sharing a house with some other members of the roster and is looking forward to immersing herself in the total experience of being a full-time athlete, “To say I’m excited about the opportunity I’ve been given is an understatement” she enthused. She will be the only British team member, but she will be joined by two Australian players, showing the global pull that Women’s football has.
However, this won’t be the first time she has played for an overseas team, in 2017 she played in Finland with fellow Britballer Affy Afia of the Birmingham Lions, for the Jyvaskyla Jaguars, where she gained valuable experience of a different culture.
The British Sapphire series has just begun, with the Chargers getting off to a fast start, but Knops will not be suiting up for them. Mindful of her Seattle commitment, she is taking the opportunity before she flies out to focus on her strength and conditioning. Currently working in London, she has been training with The London Warriors to keep her Football reflexes sharp, but limiting the contact. When the WNFC season ends in August Gaby will make a decision about what she does next. “I’m not sure where this could lead, if I had the chance to keep playing in the states, I would probably take it” she reflected.
These are clearly exciting times, not just for Knops, but for Women’s Football in general. Hopefully we will be able to catch her in action via the games being streamed, as she blazes a trail for other British players to follow.
Images courtesy of Photo Phoenix – G W Images – Debra Carlsen