This piece could be about four different people. Well in fact, it is about one.
This feature follows the day of an inspiring student, who attends class five days a week, attends training five days a week, is the president of a sports society, and works part-time. It’s the ‘if i’m not at university i’m at football, if i’m not at football i’m at work’ life. Even though it’s a hectic time in her life, she does it wholeheartedly.
Jess Burke of Portsmouth Ladies, has a 6am start every Friday morning due to fitness for the university football team. This week, it is sprints. Some speeds reach 21 on the treadmill, faster than an african elephant. This is rather draining due to having strength and conditioning at training the night before. Jess also plays matches twice a week, three times if called up to the first team. Recently, the semi-pro footballer had her call up to Portsmouth Ladies first team. The team have incredible players, who have represented the country by playing beach soccer. They actually went on to win the Women’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup in 2017, hosted in Portugal. Molly Clark, Gemma Hillier and ex-Portsmouth Lucy Quinn are amongst the players. A male player of this level would have football as their full-time occupation.
After fitness, it was straight to the library where Jess worked on Kinesiology and Bio-mechanics. Kinesiology is the study of human or non-human body movement, and Bio-mechanics is the study of the structure and function of the mechanical aspects of biological systems. She has considered Bio-mechanics as a future career or said in the interview ‘I want to do sports analysis,’ after completing a Masters as the university. The workload doesn’t stop there, Jess also has a part time job in a cocktail bar, working about 8 hours a week, and President duties of the women’s football team. There’s a lot of pressure here, especially if you imagine something going one way and it goes another. Being the President of a society is a 24/7 job in itself. Burke is actively engaged in her life and make’s the most of it, she even coaches on the odd occasion for Pompey In The Community.
In an interview with Jess, she told us about her ‘busiest’ day of the week. ‘My busiest day changes on a weekly basis, one of my busiest days would be when I am at uni for a full day (9am – 5pm) then I have training in the evening (6pm – 8pm) or when I have work after uni.’ Most people would say they struggled to manage to have a social life, or they couldn’t juggle doing this many things at once, Burke nonetheless told us ‘I do have a bit of a social life at the weekend, it will be later on, I just manage it with having a later social life.’ When asked about being able to manage football when she starts a career, Jess is hopeful to carry on playing, and even has high hopes for progressing to a team in one of the top playing fields of women’s football. ‘I still plan on playing football, if i had to pick a team it would be Lewes, I wouldn’t wanna drop a level’. There’s obviously this huge debate on the pay gap from men’s and women’s football and she was happy to express that ‘it should all be the same, I understand the men’s (game) bring more money in but if you put more money in to women’s football more people more interested in it.’
After spending a day with the ex-skipper and conducting an interview, research was undertaken into someone who played for Portsmouth FC. Christian Burgess, a legend at Pompey, is worth almost £175,000 if he was to transfer. Burke on the other hand would transfer by being scouted, and Pompey Ladies would receive nothing. This is not very surprising, however, both players compete in the same tier of football. However, in other countries the bar has been raised. The Norwegian Football Association announced that they would be paying the men’s side and women’s side equally. This makes them the first national FA to have devised the equal pay.
Get down to see Burke and others play in the new year, with their first home game against Denham United Reserves. Location yet to be confirmed, keep up to date with the reserves here: http://www.portsmouthfcladies.co.uk/teams/165612