After winning Save of the Season at the FA Women's Football awards, VAVEL UK spoke to 21-year-old goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley.
Up against not just some of the best ‘keepers in WSL but the best in Europe, Baggaley was left surprised when it was her name that was called out at the end of season awards in London.
“I wasn’t expecting to win it. I saw the saves the other day and there’s loads of good saves up there and I thought teams with bigger fan bases might have won but… yeah, surprised to win but happy to win.”
Following a handful of appearances in 2015, the 2016 season saw Baggaley play the majority of Birmingham City’s matches over winter signing, Ann-Katrin Berger. The young shot-stopper having seen her minutes cut down when new coach, Marc Skinner took charge in 2017 she opted to move to Bristol City on loan for the 2017-18 season seeking more minutes.
“It wasn’t really a hard decision because I wanted to play and Bristol offered me a really good opportunity to go and do that so I took it with both hands, obviously I like my time at Birmingham but it wasn’t a hard decision.”
One of a handful of teams up from WSL 2 for the new season, Bristol finished the season with just five wins and one draw, eighth in a league of ten, Baggaley admits that the strength of the group kept them focused throughout the tumultuous season.
“The games have been difficult but the togetherness of the group has really brought us through that, obviously we don’t enjoy losing but having a good team around us helps us get through the tougher times.”
With a blockbuster summer ahead for transfers in and out of the top tier in England, the goalkeeper admits she hasn’t finalised any plans yet and will be considering her options in due time.
“I’m not sure, I don’t know what going to happen next season, I’m sure over the summer I’ll make some decisions but we’ll see what happens.”
One of the toughest roles on the pitch, being a goalkeeper isn’t for everyone but it’s clearly a role that Baggley fast fell in love with when she first volunteered to cover for an injured teammate.
“I think it just happened, I think a lot of keepers will say that but one game our goalkeeper – I used to play for a boy’s team – and our goalkeeper was injured so I said I’d step in and I haven’t come out since.”