London Pulse netball team announce diverse squad to ‘represent the city’

Head coach of Vitality Netball Superleague team London Pulse Sam Bird believes the diversity in squad makes them a side that can represent and unite the city.

On 21 October London Pulse announced their playing squad for the 2021 season in a league-first live stream event hosted by netball super-fan Dan Wootton.

Alongside a wealth of English talent, the squad boasts players from Jamaica, South Africa and Northern Ireland and CEO and head coach Bird is excited for what this mix of cultures brings to the team.

She said: “We reflect the population of London. We are the most diverse team in the Super League.

“We have athletes from all over the world. It’s a lovely melting pot that makes training and our interactions really good fun.”

Bird hopes this will attract a new fan base for the side who play their home games at the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park.

She added: “Hopefully everyone will find a player that they can identify with and come and support us.

“There is no doubt that the London pulse female athletes are some of the most elite female athletes in the world and we want people to see that.

“We want young women and boys to see what a female sporting role model can do.”

At the heart of the team is an English core with many of the side having featured for the England Roses’ development sides.

Club co-captain and goalkeeper Halimat Adio was called up for the Roses’ tour of New Zealand and Bird believes it is just a matter of time before others join her in the first team setup.

She said: “Others will follow there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

“It is not an easy transition. It is the very pinnacle of your career.

“The facilities and the training environment we can give them at London pulse mean they’re in the best place possible to achieve those ambitions.”

Joining the team is South African international Lefebre Rademan who will link up with compatriot Sigi Burger.

Last season Burger shot at 95%, missing only two shots in three games and Bird considers that proficiency in the goal circle to be key in the team’s title hopes.

Bird added: “Even though every player is valuable, if you don’t have a top-class shooter you cannot challenge for the trophies.

“To have someone who is that outstanding and performing that well means you’re going to be able to compete with any team.”

London Pulse only joined the Super League in 2019, finishing last in their debut season, however under Bird the side won all three of their games before the coronavirus pandemic brought about the cancellation of the 2020 season.

Bird is looking forward to seeing her side tested next campaign and is optimistic of a top four finish.

She said: “It was obviously a dream start. You can only beat what its front of you, but we don’t know how we would have fared against some of the stronger teams. That was the most disappointing thing for us.

“We have a lot of work to do. There is no doubt we have some of the best players in the world in our team and some of the best potential but it’s all about how we come together and execute that in the game plan.

“Every player in our squad will say they want the playoffs. From there anything could happen.”

The Vitality Superleague season is scheduled to begin next February.

Related Articles