A Variety Of Football Shirts In My Collection

I think once you start buying football shirts you just can't stop & over the next few weeks I will be bringing you my football shirt collection. Today we are going to take a look at my women's shirts, random shirts and the very few England shirts I own.

First up we have the USA training top which I bought to show my love of the USWNT because I couldn't find a UK supplier of their shirts and I definitely wasn't paying the prices to get one from the USA. I have to admit though this is one of my go too t-shirts for when I am lounging around.

I absolutely love FIFA as I am really into gaming so when I saw this FIFA shirt in  my local game I had to pick it up. I need to find the FIFA 20 shirt now.

I was lucky enough to win this Equal Playing Fields shirt from a Man City Women Fancast competition during the world cup, I love having this in my collection as it is so different. 

Speaking of different shirts that is the reason I bought this Adidas Tango football shirt, I love the blanked out badge and sponsor. It is definitely totally different to anything else I own. 

Next up we have my USWNT Tobin Heath short which we are still debating authenticity of, to be honest I don't think it is real but Liam picked this up for me as a gift a few years ago and it is going to be the closest I get to a Heath shirt until I get to America on holiday.

I was very kindly sent this Miskits shirt from Miskits themselves and I love it, the design is so unique and the quality is fantastic. Unfortunately this is a little bit tight on me at the moment but as soon as it fits you will be seeing it more often. 

Oh look another FIFA shirt I couldn't just get one version could I? I love the pink on this one and it was one of my go to's in FIFA 19.

I finally got my Roma shirt I had been hunt for at the start of this year. I managed to pick this up from our local Nike outlet and I absolutely love the chain link detail on it.

This is probably one of my most prized possessions, my signed Lucy Bronze Man City shirt, I got this signed when I met her at a Bradford City Women's event. This shirts actually only originally cost me £4 from a Nike outlet so it was definitely a bargain and even better now it has been printed.

Another Man City shirt I have in the collection is of course for one of my favourite players Jill Scott. As soon as I saw this shirt announced I knew I wanted one thanks to the colour of it. So when me and Liam went to a game I called into the shop and picked it up.

Another bargain from the Nike outlet was this Man City shirt, no name on the back but I had to pick it up. I love the fluorescent yellow (volt) detailing on this shirt. It just works so well with the rest of the shirt.

Another shirt I picked up from the Man City store was this Houghton one, I managed to get this on one of my first visits to the Academy stadium. This is one of the first Man City shirts I picked up so of course I got the captain's name on the back.

My final Man City shirt is this orange and purple 3rd shirt. Again this is another outlet bargain and I definitely wasn't going to leave it there. This was under £10 and I had said at the start of the season I wanted this one but unfortunately I never got around to it. So to see this on the rail in the outlet, it was definitely coming home with me.

You will see through the rest of this post that I don't own many England shirts, especially not recent ones. But this Navy Umbro one is probably the last one I got. I loved this shirt and I wish they would do something similar these days, especially with the collar.

This is a close 2nd in the favourite England shirts because the close up details are absolutely fantastic. This is a shirt that my parents surprised me and my sister with although I can't remember who she got on the back. The details are definitely what makes this shirt stand out, with the badge faded into the design.

Finally we have my Rooney England shirt, I usually picked the away shirts for England but I loved the little collar on this one and back then Rooney was definitely one of my favourite players. This shirt is so simple with the white design and little bits of red on the shoulders and sleeve.

So there you have it those are my women's, England and random football shirts that are in the collection. Make sure to check back next week to see a whole other set in the collection.

Hope Solo : Solo A Memoir Of Hope

I love reading books written by my favourite football players and you will know from my 'I only read football books' blog post recently that I have quite the collection to get through. One of the first books I tackled was Carli Lloyd's When Nobody was Watching and then I moved onto Hope Solo's book Solo : A memoir of Hope.

To me Hope is definitely one of the greatest goalkeepers the women's game has ever had and to be honest I think she is even better than some of the men's 'keepers. I was really excited to sit down with this book as it is safe to say it was going to be an interesting read as Hope has definitely had an interesting life.

The book isn't just about her playing football, it also delves into her family life and especially her relationship with her dad, which is great to look into as it goes to show you that even the strongest players have issues off the field but continue to play at their best. It also gives a little bit of an insight into what made her into the person she is today which certainly isn't the pantomime villain she is painted out to be. 

It also gives you an insight into the behind the scenes of previous USWNT teams which was possibly the most shocking part for me. Having to read about what Hope was put through by her teammates due to her giving her opinion, no player should have to go through that and have to deal with it for a long period of time.

Hope is not afraid to stand up and speak out to defend what is wrong which caused rifts with other players but the Federation also seems to target Hope more than anyone else as she gets heavy punishments compared to others who get let off lightly. Take a section from the book as an example, Hope was fined for speaking out against an official, she got a $2,500 dollar fine, a game suspended & community service where as just a year previous Tony DiCicco only got a $200 dollar fine for a similar issue. 

The book also goes into a bit more detail about Hope's shoulder injury and the pain she went through when playing and training. I knew she had surgery on her shoulders in the past but I didn't realise just how bad it was but you get more of an insight to how bad and to me it just makes me appreciate Hope a whole lot more.

Like I say though it isn't just football that is spoken about in the book, you also find out more about her journey through Dancing with the Stars which she definitely surprised people with her 4th place finish whilst still playing football at the same time as the competition. But even on that show she was made out to be the villain with scenes edited to make her the bad guy once again but by reading this book you really do get her side of the story which you wouldn't see on screen.

Reading this book has just given me more admiration for Hope but I really would love an updated version as this book was published in 2013 so not long after the Olympic win. I would love to see her take on the 2015 World Cup win, her dismissal in 2016 and that legal battle that was eventually dropped.

Hope had definitely been through a lot but she always comes back fighting, if you can I would highly recommend giving this book a read for yourself.

My Current Top 5 USWNT Players

There might not be any football on at the moment, which is definitely driving me mad, but we have recently had the She Believes Cup which once again the USWNT won. But it got me thinking over the years the USWNT have had some absolutely fantastic players and there are some players that definitely stand out from the crowd but who are also overlooked sometimes as they don't get the game time they deserve. 

With the caliber of players the USWNT has and the depth of their squad it is no wonder they are such a driving force of the women's game. But here are the players that stand out for me and are currently my favourite players for the national team...

Christen Press

Christen is really starting to show her form under Vlatko and is really showing people what she is made of. Her pace is absolutely outstanding and she really gives defenders a hard time. Christen was surely going to make that Olympic roster due to her form and the fact that Alex Morgan may not have been ready to come back from her pregnancy however, with the Olympics being delayed I hope that doesn't effect her chances with Morgan surely due back by next year. Christen has really stepped up and touch the opportunities given and everyone is finally getting to see what she is capable of.

Tobin Heath

Tobin is an absolutely outstanding player. Her skills can tie defenders in knots and she is capable of setting up so many opportunities as well as scoring for herself. Tobin has bounced back from plenty of injuries but I really do believe she just gets better and better each time she bounces back as she knows there is competition for her spot and you can see she genuinely wants to give 110% to each game she plays. It is great to see Heath & Press playing together more often too as they have a great link up that really benefits the USWNT. 

Emily Sonnett

Ah Sonnett one of those players who doesn't get as much of a chance on the field but has so much potential. She has shown at club level she is a fantastic right back & centre back and I honestly don't think it will be too long until she cements herself into a USWNT starter. All it is going to take is a few retirements or injuries and she is in. Sonnett can be there for those crucial tackles to stop the opposition scoring but she can also be a bit of an attacking threat when it comes to set pieces. It wont be long until Sonnett becomes a big name just like O'Hara and Krieger as she takes over the defensive role in the future.

Kelley O'Hara

One of the best right backs in the world without a question, Kelley O'Hara has really adapted to her role in defence, looking at how well she does in the back line some people could easily forget she was once the all time scorer for Stanford University. A bit like Heath O'Hara has had her fair share of injuries with her ankle been one of the main issues, but she is still playing such a fantastic game. I am just hoping that her ankle stops giving her so much trouble so that she can continue playing for many more years as I believe she has so much more to give to the squad.

Lindsey Horan

Lindsey has really stepped up her game in the past few years and is really solidifying her place in that midfield spot. Need someone to move the ball around with ease? Get Horan. Need someone to attack a set piece? Get Horan. As an opponent the worst thing you can do is let Horan head the ball as those are lethal and will mostly likely end up in the back of the net. The best thing is Horan is showing improvement year by year, but she is also young so unless an injury happens she should be around for a long time. I really do believe in the future she is going to be a household name for the USWNT just like Carli Lloyd. 

So there you have it those are my favourite USWNT players currently who are yours? As I say the squad has such a depth that it was actually quite difficult to narrow down my favourites but these are the ones who for me stood out above the rest and deserve a lot more recognition.

Football lockdown Activities You Can Take Part In

It is definitely a crazy time in the world right now, countries are on lockdown, schools have been shut, people are losing jobs and sports all over the world have been cancelled. The vast majority of people will probably have a lot more time of their hands just like me. I have gone from working 8.30am until 5pm to not working at all currently. I have also gone from most weekends watching football on TV or going to a men's game on a Saturday & a women's game on a Sunday but obviously with all games cancelled or postponed. So I have had to find other ways to keep myself occupied and here are some ways you can keep yourself occupied too...

Keep up with your skills
Just because your football team may have cancelled training there is no need for you to stop especially if you have a garden. You can still go into your garden & kick the ball around with a family member and YouTube & Twitter have plenty of videos of skills you can practice alone if need be. I have seen plenty of players outside/ some indoors keeping on top of their game so when it is time to head back to training they are still fit and haven't lost their touch. Even we have been out in the garden passing the football around and practicing keepy up's yet we aren't playing any more, it just gets us out of the house and means we are still getting some fresh air. 

Home workouts

If kicking the football around isn't something you want to do there is also the option to keep on top of your fitness by doing some home workouts. If you are used to going to the gym you could always opt to do a homework out instead, there are plenty of apps out there you can download for free and most are just body-weight exercises. My favourite app to use for this is the Nike Training Center as it even has workout from some of the USWNT players on there. There is also the Joe Wicks workouts you can take part in via YouTube, I have done one of those so far and it has killed me. 

Watch old games
Thanks to YouTube and the fact that you can record games on satellite TV there could be plenty of ways to access this next option. Just type in the game you want to watch on YouTube and I am sure you will be able to at least find highlights for it. I know I can relive the glory days of Bradford beating Chelsea 4-2 on YouTube. But if not and you are like us and often record games if you are going to miss parts of it you may have a sky box full of old games so why not use this time to finally sit and watch them if you are missing the game. 

Do a football Quiz 
This could be a great one to incorporate into calls with your friends or family. Create a football quiz, get a group of you together on an app like Zoom/Skype or Discord and you can have yourself a little quiz night. You could even get together as a team to do this as a team bonding exercise whilst we are all stuck at home. 

Read a book
If you want to spend some time reading whilst you can't go anywhere else well there are plenty of football books out there for you to have a read of. I have recently posted all the football books I own so hopefully you can find some recommendations there, but there are plenty of books out there for you to give a go.

Colouring sheets/ kit design
This could be a great one for all ages, there are plenty of options available out there including colouring books from the likes of How's Your Touch & Terrace Life. But you can always just get a sheet of paper and design your own kits. You could even turn this into a little competition between friends/family or teammates to see who can come up with the best design.

Video games
This is the one I have spent 90% of my time at home doing. I have become obsessed with FIFA lately and am grinding away on Squad Battles. But I am also very tempted to get Football Manager to help pass the time too. If you have any gaming consoles or a PC there are plenty of football games out there at all price points plus you can always play against your friends on line.

So there you have it those are some activities you can take part in whilst you are stuck inside. Do you have any other things you are doing? Let us know.