As captain of Liverpool, Sophie Bradley-Auckland is used to taking on responsibility, especially as she’s also mother to two-year-old Macie. If that wasn’t enough, Sophie also works as a manager at her parent’s rest home, often taking Macie with her to spend time with the residents. This Mothers Day, we caught up with Sophie to find out just how she strikes a balance between being a professional footballer and a busy mum.
Sophie, being a role model is part and parcel of being a footballer, has that become more important to you now you have a daughter of your own?
It has always been hugely important for me to be a role model, and I don’t think that’s changed now that I have a daughter of my own. I was playing football back when you didn’t get paid, and now for many of the younger girls, it can be a career straight away. Women’s football has come a long way, and it’s become something you can do for many years and earn a good income doing. It’s been a privilege to be part of that, and it’s fantastic that I can tell Macie all about it.
How important is it that clubs accommodate women’s desire to start a family?
It’s massively important. Being a parent is one of the best life experiences you’ll ever have, so why should your career stop or be put on hold? I’ve been able to experience what it’s like to play and see my daughter cheering me on from the stands. It makes me appreciate football even more. Before I had Macie, all I thought about was football, but now she comes first. If the club hadn’t been able to support that, then I wouldn’t have gone back to football, but Liverpool F.C has been fantastic to me. I’ll always be grateful for how they accommodate me. It makes it so much easier when they allow her to come to training with me sometimes - it means they get the best out of me because I’m not worrying about childcare. It’s also nice for her to have those experiences and remember her mummy as a footballer.
What’s the best part of being a mum?
Teaching my daughter new things is the best part. I’m the one that has to leave her a lot, which I find hard, so I make sure we have days where we do things together and have special mummy and daughter time, which is important. I take inspiration from my own mum because she’s taught me everything, and a lot of who I am is down to her.
You have so many roles to fulfil, how do you manage it all?
I always think I’m going to look back one day and think, ‘how did I do that?’ but I just want what’s best for my family and me. When I put it into perspective, football is the part of my life that’s just for me, going out there and enjoying something that I’ve always loved. I’m lucky working at the rest home because I can take Macie there as well. At the moment, I enjoy just getting on with it.
Do you think motherhood has sharpened your focus?
I feel like I’ve come back, competing at the highest level with some of the best players in the world, and I feel great, but before I was a mum, my preparation would’ve been so different. Now I definitely get less sleep, but I’m always the positive one, reminding my teammates how enjoyable this experience is, doing something we love as our career! I’m very relaxed when I’m playing, and I think being a mother has made me grow as a person and as a footballer. Hopefully, it’ll continue to bring the best out of me, and I’ll keep making Macie proud.
The PFA would like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to Sophie and all the mums out here, both inside and out of football.