Photographer: Keith Gillard
Charlton Athletic Women FC
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Cyncoed Ladies FC
Cardiff Met Women AFC
Charlton Athletic Women FC
Alice, Introduce yourself…
I’m Alice Griffiths, 19 years old and a Centre midfielder for Charlton Athletic Women.
Why did you start playing football? And were you immediately a midfielder?
My dad introduced me to football when I was quite young and I’ve loved it ever since. I started out as a striker but now play as a holding midfielder. I have also played as a centre back internationally, but my favourite position is in centre midfield because I can get on the ball much more.
Who was the player, or players, you looked up to most growing up, and why?
Mia Hamm was, and still is, a big inspiration to me. She plays in the same position and although she retired before I started playing I watch so many videos of her game. Her technique was great and she is also one of the most motivating athletes out there, I think her mentality was a huge part of why she was such a good player.
Alice you began playing football with local amateur side AFC Llwydcoed in the Aberdare and Rhondda Junior Football League. Could you tell us about your experience at youth football?
I’d actually been playing competitively for 6 years before I joined Llwydcoed, initially in a U10 mixed team and then in girls teams at U12 and U14. I joined Llwydcoed when I was 15. Being the only girl in a boys team is difficult. Being the only girl in a boys league was even tougher, but I had good teammates around me who just saw me as one of the players. Before a game boys on opposing teams used to laugh when they saw a girl in the starting 11 because they assumed I’d be awful, but after the game they’d be the first to shake my hand. I enjoyed having to prove a point every week and I really developed the physical side of my game.
In 2017, you joined Welsh Premier Women’s Football League side Cyncoed Ladies FC. In your first season, you was named the division’s Young Player of the Year. Were you surprised by that award?
I was surprised because I was 16 playing my first year in senior football. Cyncoed was the perfect environment for me because the players around me supported me and enabled me to express myself every week. I knew I was playing well that season so it was nice to receive the award and have a bit of recognition.
After one season with Cyncoed Ladies FC, you joined fellow Welsh Premier side Cardiff Met Ladies FC. Did you noticed a lot of difference between these clubs?
This question isn’t factually correct. (I played in the Wales Performance squad and had a brief spell in Cardiff City Ladies before moving to Cardiff Met).
During the 2018–19 season, you helped the side win a domestic treble, winning the league title, the FAW Women’s Cup and the Welsh Premier Women’s Cup. How important was that season for you ?
It was a very important season for me. I joined Cardiff Met at a time when there was a lot of pressure on my football and I really needed to just enjoy playing again. Our success as a team obviously contributed to that, but on a personal level my time at Cardiff Met really helped me to start believing in my ability again. I played with a great group of girls and I think the fact that I was was happy in that environment reflected in my performances.
Alice, In July 2019, you moved to England and signed with FA Women’s Championship team Charlton Athletic FC. Why did you chose for Charlton ?
Charlton was one of the first clubs to show interest in signing me and, after having conversations with the manager, I knew I wanted to play for the club. The set-up is professional and the way we play suits me as a player and is helping me develop. The first season meant a lot of change on a personal level, moving away from home in Wales to London and living independently, but I did it because my ambition is to play football professionally and I’m loving my time here at Charlton.
What is the most important football lesson you have learned and who taught you that?
The most important lesson I have learned is that to play at my best I need to be in a positive environment where I am motivated and challenged, because that makes me happy on a personal level. When I’m not it shows in my performances. I’ve learned that the hard way, from being in an environment that left me really doubting my ability. I started to lose belief in myself and it affected me as a footballer and a person. However I use that experience positively now and it’s made me realise that self-belief, motivation and being happy are really important factors in my development.
Alice, what are your targets for this season?
This season I want to produce consistently good performances for my club so I can begin to make a mark on the FA Women’s Championship.