Getting to know: Daisy Jenkins

Through the years, women footballers have found it tough. Like most young girls looking to play football, there were no options to play growing up, so many opted to join boys teams in order to play. Daisy Jenkins was no different. After not being able to continue in boys football and a knock back from an academy, she finally found her way into a Ladies setup.

“When I was younger, I played for two boys teams; Olympic Youth and Whitewebbs Eagles until I had to move onto Ladies football when I reached a certain age. I absolutely hated it. There was nothing I loved more than being better and tougher than most of the boys I played with and against. I loved to get stuck in and any of my old teammates wouldn’t disagree with that.”

“I then had trials at Arsenal” said said. “Where unfortunately, I feel at the last hurdle. Being an Arsenal fan, this absolutely broke my heart but I had to get back up and carry on.”

She had found her way into her local club but it hadn’t been plain sailing. Things out of her control meant the team were depleted but she enjoyed playing a couple of years. After that, she was out of football for a while before finding her way back into the game. “I joined my local team Enfield Town Ladies, a proper family club where I found a love for it again. There were some politics behind closed doors so half of us left and our name changed to Lea Valley. I enjoyed a couple of seasons there before totally giving up the game for seven years.”

After finding home life a trouble and having just started secondary school, the break from football was something she needed. Although she missed it everyday, she knew that time away would be the best thing. She soon found herself back into football, briefly spending time at Hoddesdon Town before she moved onto Stevenage Women. “My Partner at the time played for a local team in Hoddesdon and invited me to come along to see if I would enjoy it. I only planned to train for a bit of fitness but after one session, it feel amazing to have a ball back at my feet so I found myself signing straight away. The social aspect was great and I made some friends for life.”

“My manager was offered the Stevenage Ladies job a couple of years after and asked me to follow him. I couldn’t say no as it was a great opportunity for me to experience playing a little higher and push on. During that time [at Stevenage], I was in a long-distance relationship with my ex-partner who lived in South London. It was hard to balance personal life and football life so I dual signed for a team called Whyteleafe. At the time it was a brand new team, full of quality players, and I absolutely loved my time there. I was gutted it came to an end.”

After another spell at Stevenage that didn’t quite work out, she switched back to Enfield Town, who played in the same league. She has been delighted to be back to where she started in senior women’s football but once the season came to an end, she found herself in another dark place. She took a year out of football, found herself before finding her way to the Hawks. “I had found myself during my year away from the game and I was ready to be part of a team, knowing I was going to give my all for a club. That’s when I found my current club, Harlow Town. It was a club not to far from me, full of quality players and staff and a club that never know when they are beaten; Captivating, Competitive, and Compassionate.”

Out of all her time playing, one club stood out for her. It wasn’t just about the atmosphere on the pitch and the quality of football but what was happening off the pitch too. “I absolutely loved my time at Whyteleafe. They were a great bunch of girls, management and facilities. In the women’s game, there are cliques which I don’t like to be apart of, [at] Whyteleafe, it was probably the first team that felt like a family. For me, there has not been a better social environment.”

Out of the vast catalogue of tough opponents, the one that stood of for Jenkins was a player who had found their way to the Women’s Super League with Tottenham Hotspur. “Kit Graham [was my toughest opponent] for sure. I played against her when she was at Charlton [Athletic] a couple of times and she was unbelievable. I always wondered why she hadn’t been snatched up at the highest level years ago, but she found her way to Spurs, living her best life.”

Daisy hadn’t been at the Hawks long, signing in February 2020 and making a brief appearance during the shortened 2019/20 season before entering her first full season for the club ahead of the 2020/21 season. With very little games to choose from for her favourite in a Harlow shirt, she opted for an early season game. “I have actually only been at Harlow for a short time and both sides of the season have frustratingly been cut short by COVID. If I had to choose a competitive game from the small amount of games I’ve been involved in, I’ll have to go with the FA Cup [Extra Preliminary Round] against Runwell Sports as I bagged my first goal for the club and that felt special.”

“Saying that, I did love our pre-season friendly against Portsmouth. It was a proper test and drawing 1-1 with a side two-leagues above, really showed our togetherness.”

She had hoped her first full season would have gone without a glitch but the on-going pandemic meant it has been stop-start and suspended for foreseeable. Although the team had a lot to replicate from the following season, when they felt they should have gone up, Daisy felt the club still had room for improvement. “As a team [this season], I think we’re doing okay but can be better. You haven’t seen the best of us yet and there is always room for improvement all over the pitch. Some of our performances have been second to none, but a couple have lacked a bit of aggression and urgency. As Jose [Mourinho] once said, “teams of nice guys never win”. When we are back, we will continue fighting for sure.”

Her life revolved around football. When she weren’t playing, her hobbies still included the beautiful game. “If I’m not playing, I’m either watching, analysing, gaming, reading or breathing football” she explained. “I love all angles of it [the game] which is quite sad really. However, when lockdown is over, I want to enjoy the hobby of drinking, going out to enjoy some Pornstar Martinis.”

Away from football though, she could be found helping the community in her line of work. “I work for Hertfordshire Police as a Youth Violent Crime PCSO. My main objective is to educate and support youths to divert them away from a life of crime. It’s a job I absolutely love  because I feel like I can relate to the youths really well as I have previous similar life experiences. Believe it or not, I was quite cheeky back in the day.”

The choice for her best friend in the squad was an easy one. “It’s an easy one. My best mate [at Harlow] is Davina Smith. I first met her when I joined Harlow and we automatically clicked. I guess our love for Arsenal helped but a lot of girls thought we’d know each other for years and I guess that says something.”

When it came to her picking on her teammates, she certainly didn’t hold back when it came to the biggest diva, worst taste in music and most likely to be late for a kick-off. “The biggest Diva has got to be the gaffer before he’s had his morning coffee fix.”

“The dressing room music isn’t too bad to be honest but Vik [Wotton] can’t stick to one song without changing it 29-times and often skips the requests she’s not a fan of. I guess that’s the advantage when you’re in charge of the speaker. Most likely to be late for kick-off would be Kaydee King (sorry skipper!). She gives great motivational speech but not sure on her time keeping. She’ll probably be late for her own wedding.”

And your aspirations?

“I’m not getting any younger so I just want to play for as long as I can and enjoy it. It’s not just a game and I am competitive so I’d love to win some more silverware that’s for sure. Hopefully when we get back, I can add a few goals and assists to the tally too.”