Dr Nicola Yard is happy with the strides local football has made throughout the years, but she would like to see women’s football soar to the same heights or reach higher than men’s football.
The physiotherapist, and lone woman of the Barbados Football Association’s senior men’s team began her role about eight years ago while attached to the Under-17 national team, before moving up to the Under-20 and Under-23 teams and finally settling with the top-flight team, where she has spent the longest time.
“There are ups and downs with football like everything else, but it has been a good experience. Of course, I would love to see football advance way past where it is right now. It has come a long way, but I would love to see it get much further,” she said.
Yard said she wanted to see the progression of football in general.
“I want to see the progression so by the time my son, who also plays football, gets up there, things that we were hoping could be achieved can be, and those foundations would have already been set,” she stressed.
The founder of Health and Wellness Physios said as staff they received attachments and trained, as opposed to having the full package where the players trained more consistently, with a physiotherapist and trainer onboard constantly.
And while she said on tour her duties could be a bit more demanding, she enjoyed every moment of it.
“When we are travelling it can be demanding, but it tends to be limited to certain things versus my day-to-day duties where I see a wider variety of things. With sports injuries, I tend to see only sport-related stuff. When we are on tour there is a lot to get done and a lot of players to see; sometimes to get them ready before a game or to patch them up before we go back into a game. At home with a training set up it is a lot easier,” she said.
However, she said she had seen the fitness of the boys improve, especially under Head Coach Russell Latapy’s charge as he shared a unique relationship with the players.
“Russell has a good relationship with them, where he can identify with them which is really important. I’m sure past coaches would have played as well, but there is something about Russell in the sense that he is able to relate to and identify with them, which is one of the key things that helps him with them,” she said.
Commenting on the team’s preparation for the Qualifiers of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, the physiotherapist said she was a bit disappointed when COVID-19 forced training and football globally to stop.
“I felt like the energy was right and we were ready for that game. Now we have the time to build up and go again. As we continue to increase training that is going to come back, and as the time gets closer we will get back to where we were, having that same energy level and same drive,” she said.