Scotland International and Modern Apprentice
The Sport Aberdeen Modern Apprentice Scheme has given several youngsters the opportunity to take on a variety of full time roles within the company.
Living in Cove and working at Kincorth Sports Centre, Cassie has always been involved with Sports and leapt at the opportunity to become a Modern Apprentice with Sport Aberdeen.
“My Deputy Head knew I didn’t want to be in school, but playing for Scotland meant there was no real point in getting a typical office job as I was unlikely to get time off. So she told me about the modern apprentice scheme and I thought I’d go for it. I take a lot of girls football classes so it’s good they can see that it is possible to juggle work and sport.”
Having now found the work/sport balance, it was not always so easy for Cassie who is now a regular starter for both her club and the national side.
“I used to just play boys football. I played for Cove, then Lewis United and I’m with Aberdeen Ladies now. But It wasn’t until the under 13 level that I started playing girls football. I never even knew other girls played football! My dad wasn’t sure to begin with, but he got a massive shock when I started. The quality of play was far better than he’d thought. Playing with boys developed me a lot and made me physically strong so I switch between centre back and defensive mid. I’ve been with Aberdeen Ladies (Full team) for 4 years now but I was dropped recently for being a bit of a pain!”
Harder still than challenging for a place in the starting line-up at club level is breaking into the International scene.
“I was involved with Scottish schools first so they were always watching me develop. It’s harder up here because the coaches live in Glasgow and see players down their all the time. So when they do come up to watch you just have to hope for a good game. But once the foot is in the door I think you are always being clocked.
My first call up was against Germany I think in 2013 and that was for the under 15’s. I’m about to join the under 19’s. With the under 17’s we got to the second phase of the euros, but were knocked out by France 3-1. We ended up playing two at the back and just went for it!”
With so much of her career ahead of her Cassie already has a wealth of memories from her time as a footballer.
“I think my favourite memory was playing in front of my parents for the first time. When I was at school I wasn’t the best behaved and I always got into trouble so people didn’t think I’d get very far. So looking back at that it’s hard to believe now I have sixteen caps. It doesn’t seem real and it’s happened so fast! My dad watches me play every game but my mum worries too much when she comes. I think she’s bad luck though, we’ve always lost when she watches!”
The 2015 Women’s World Cup has again showcased to audiences in every country the standard of football being played. And while the sport is undoubtedly building in awareness, finance and participation there are still a number of issues.
“I think woman’s football is getting better. But there’s just not enough money invested into it. It could go massive, but wages just aren’t good enough. Full professional players have to have a second job. We train as hard as men, but men are able to develop quicker and they are just better. So if anything we have to train more. But since I’ve started it has come a long way. I didn’t even know it existed and now there’s a team wherever you go.”
So with the future looking bright for both Cassie and the game it is onwards and upwards as she looks to continue her development.
“The next step is just to keep working and make my way up the Scotland levels. I’m enjoying my football at Aberdeen so I’m not looking to move on but obviously I want to keep up with Scotland and play at each rank and obviously the full senior team.
We’ve just established a proper link with Aberdeen Football Club for the first time. Everyone assumed we already were but it’s only just happened which is exciting. Now we are getting proper home and away strips and training equipment so it’s already growing. It will get good publicity and the relationship will grow.”
The sudden adjustment from school to full time employment can be a daunting one for some. For 17 year old Cassie Cowper the challenge is even greater as she juggles her other career as a footballer for both club and country.