|Netball: Sophie Beard, Year 13|
Sophie Beard, one of Berkhamsted School’s finest young sportswomen has earned a place with Surrey Storm, Netball’s Superleague Champions of 2015 and 2016.
18 year old Sophie, who is currently studying four A levels, will play in the National Performance League as Storm aim to develop a world class squad of athletes for the future. Sophie becomes the first student in the School’s history to play netball at this level.
Playing as Goal Attack, Sophie helped Berkhamsted’s 1st VII reach the National Schools Championship in 2016 and has been a key player in the school’s highly successful 1st XII Lacrosse team.
With Surrey Storm, who play their home fixtures in Guildford, Sophie will compete against the UK’s most elite Superleague Youth teams including Hertfordshire Mavericks, Team Northumbria, Loughborough Lightning , Team Bath, Wasps Netball and Manchester Thunder.
Sophie said “I was in complete disbelief when I first got the news of my selection. I’ve grown up watching the girls in the Storm Squad, they play at such a high level, so it was hard to believe. But I was just over the moon to get a place in the team, I’m so happy.
“It has taken a great deal of hard work and training to get to this level, I’ve spent lots of time practising and working to link up with my Goal Shooter in particular. As a Goal Attack, I come up against some strong and physical players in the defensive positions, so I’m always looking to develop this side of my game.
“The sports staff at Berkhamsted School have been amazing, I really couldn’t have reached this level without their support. I am truly thankful to my Netball coach Mrs Wates and Lacrosse coach Miss Gray for providing such exceptional opportunities at school. The coaching we have all received, all the technical training, and the team spirit we have developed together has helped us reach our potential.
“Also, Mrs Vila has been my mentor this year and she’s been really understanding and really focused on helping me achieve my aims not only in sport but throughout my school life. I’m so grateful for all of her support.”
Lead by Director of Sport Jo Vila, Berkhamsted boast eight national titles in the last two years while pupil enjoyment and participation remain at the heart of everything the department do.
Jo said “Sophie possesses all of the components required for the ‘complete’ athlete package, and as a department we are absolutely thrilled that she has finally received recognition for her hard work, commitment and obvious talent we see and work with on a daily basis. I wish her every success as she embarks on her first season with Surrey Storm and the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and successful playing career in representative Netball.
Sophie will sit her A Level exams in summer 2017 and then take a year out from academic studies to purely concentrate on netball. She plans to start university in September 2018 while continuing her progress as an athlete.