Lewes FC Players Showcase Their Off-Field Careers Line With International Women's Day

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Lewes FC and SumUp have partnered to shine a light on the entrepreneurship of female players.

Ahead of International Women's Day (8th March), the Sussex-based football club famous for funding both their men’s and women’s teams equally, Lewes FC (www.lewesfc.com), and global fintech SumUp (www.sumup.com) have partnered to showcase the off-field careers of their female first team players, celebrating female entrepreneurship and highlighting the issue the of funding disparity in the women’s game.  

Despite the success of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, women’s football is still facing a watershed moment in terms of funding disparity. An investigation led by The Telegraph revealed that the average WSL player earned £47,000 annually - with some earning as low as £20,000 per year, whereas data from the Global Sports Survey found that the average Premier League player earns more than that as a weekly salary (£60,000 per week). This situation is even more precarious for clubs in the Women's Championship, where salaries are considerably lower than the WSL. 

As well as receiving less financial remuneration, female players are also more likely to suffer career ending injuries, with research from Fifpro finding that they are more vulnerable to potentially career ending ACL injuries than male players. Despite this backdrop, female players across the UK have embraced entrepreneurship, using their knowledge and expertise to launch successful off-field enterprises and careers whilst still playing and training full time. 

Constantly looking to ensure the financial security of female players, some Lewes FC players past and present have been helped in their professional journey by Lewes FC’s efforts to establish a Dual Career Programme. Players have received one on one support, mentoring, and real work paid experience. 

SumUp, as supporters of entrepreneurship, and long time supporters of funding in the women's game through their sponsorship of Lewes FC, has worked with the first team squad to reveal some of their off-field jobs: 

Rhian Cleverly, Lewes FC Defender and Club Captain: “I am Lewes FC’s Player Liaison & Lifestyle Officer, working as part of Lewes FC’s Dual career programme, which supports players off the pitch with everything from accommodation, well-being, education, media, lifestyle and career. Also, ensure clear and consistent communication through different personnel at the club to get the best environment for players to thrive. 

 I also work as a Programme Delivery Consultant for Love Local Jobs Foundation’s “Dare to dream” Programme. The programme offers inspirational speaking, workshops and mentoring to build resilience, boost confidence, enhance happiness, raise aspirations, develop character and improve the choices of comprehensive students. 

My overall Purpose and Ambition is to help others become their best possible selves.

Hannah Godfrey, Lewes FC Defender: “Lois (Roche) and I founded Pro2Pro Academy, which is a girls only elite football academy for aspiring footballers aged 6-18. It is coached and run by current female professional footballers with the aim of creating opportunities and inspiring the next generation. We provide positive female role models who can mentor and coach the girls on a weekly basis in a safe and fun environment. We not only help to develop their technical ability, but we also help to build confidence and push these girls to be the best version of themselves. It’s the biggest and only girls football academy coached by current female professional footballers.

Hollie Olding, Lewes FC Midfielder: “My goal is to set up my own brand consultancy and niche down into the world of women’s football where I can work closely with brands and provide insightful knowledge to help plan and run their marketing campaigns.”

An additional list of player jobs can be found below: 

  • Amelia Hazard and Valentine Pursey - Football Coaches 

Amelia and Valentine work as grassroots football coaches. They run Rookie Kickers, a club  grassroots football community that runs training sessions for children aged 6-13.  

  • Caragh Hamilton - Football Pundit and Columnist 

Caragh underwent training through the Women in Football’s career support programme, ‘The Next Goal’, to qualify as a professional pundit, and provided her expertise at the 2022 European Championships. Caragh also wrote regular columns for BBC Sport throughout the tournament. 

  • Hannah Godfrey and Lois Roche - Football Academy Coaches 

Hannah and Lois founded Pro2Pro Academy, the only elite football academy coached by exclusively  current female professional players.

  • Holly Olding - Brand Consultancy 

Holly has plans to set up her own brand consultancy, where she intends to use her knowledge of marketing to help clubs and organisations in the world of women's football run their own campaigns. 

  • Rhian Cleverly - Player Liaison & Lifestyle Officer and Programme Delivery Consultant 

Rhian is Lewes FC’s Player Liaison Officer and a Programme Delivery consultant for Love Local Jobs Foundation’s “Dare to dream” Programme. 

Andrea Haas, Partnerships Manager at SumUp comments: “Learning more about some of the amazing off-field work of many of these elite players has been fascinating, but the underlying issue remains that the majority of top level male players do not have to give their financial security as much consideration. It’s simply not a level playing field - sadly female players do not receive the same opportunities in both their on field and post playing careers.

Whilst SumUp are continued supporters of entrepreneurship, and the important work many of these players do, decision makers at the top-level of the game have a responsibility to ensure financial safety for its professionals, and we hope that shining a light on players second jobs stresses this issue and boosts their business profiles in the process.”