Advertisement

Olivia Clark column: Wales duty, unclear club future and golf TikTok

OIivia Clark column banner
[Getty Images]

In her first BBC Sport column, Bristol City goalkeeper Olivia Clark looks forward to Wales' Euro 2025 qualifying games against Ukraine in Llanelli on Friday, 31 May and in Poland on Tuesday, 4 June

It is great to be away with Wales, I love every second of being on international duty.

Wales has been a real constant in my football career and I have learned so much going from being third, second and currently first-choice goalkeeper.

I never take being number one for granted, it is something that can always change, but I am striving to keep that shirt and to just play as much as I can.

The Wales goalkeepers all push each other and whoever plays is supported by the others.

Laura O'Sullivan is an amazing example of that - no-one has been a bigger supporter of mine in the past year.

We learned a lot in the last two games and we are working hard, we all know what the end goal is, we are desperate for major tournament qualification.

It is obviously early days for us with our new manager Rhian Wilkinson, but I have really enjoyed having her here.

She has not made loads of changes, some of the changes we, as players, knew were things that needed tweaking. Rhian has put her own stamp on things but it is still a similar atmosphere. We are a family here and you can see her Canadian background with her coaching style.

It has been cool so far to work with her and something I've really enjoyed.

Next season I just want to play

It was really disappointing to be relegated from the Women's Super League with Bristol City. It is extremely hard to compete at that level against some of the clubs and the resources they have.

Bristol City are about homegrown players and we had the youngest squad in the league, but at times we lacked experience in the big games.

The season did not work out how we wanted it to. We knew it would be hard from day one but we were still hopeful we could have a good season.

It will be interesting to see how the Championship has progressed now. It is hard to explain it but for a number of reasons, going away to Durham can be harder than going and playing Arsenal at the Emirates.

For me, next season the goal is to play and to be happy and feel settled at a football club. My future at the moment is unclear.

I love Bristol City and I have enjoyed my time there so much. But wherever my future lies I want to end up at a good club with ambition that has a long-term goal to be in the WSL.

People overlook the fact your real life is a factor as well in considering where you want to play. I have lived in three different cities in five years and my home is up north and I have kept moving further down south and away from home.

You must make sacrifices for football, but I do want to be happy as well. It is a really important time in my career.

I love golf now!

I started playing golf about two months ago and I love it! I love golf now, the next Gareth Bale, that's me.

I hated it when I started playing, because golf is actually really hard. But once I start something, I cannot be bad at it. That is not my personality, I have to be good at it, with absolutely everything.

I started to absolutely love golf and I have tried to have a few lessons and I have joined a women’s golf group. It is a perfect activity for days off from football.

I have started a TikTok about learning to play golf, Ffion Morgan got me into it and my first golf video kind of went viral, so I've stuck with it. Ffion is the TikTok Queen. I cannot match her content!

But a lot of girls do play golf or want to, but they would be scared to go to a golf club. When you do go to one it is a very male-dominated environment so just playing with women and seeing other women play, it is kind of cool. I hope I can encourage a few more to give it a try.

It is so nice to have a social life that is not football. Football is my life and all my friends are footballers, everything in my life is football-based.

It is hard to meet people outside of football and joining the golf group has allowed me to meet other people from different walks of life and we just have a nice time having a round of golf.

It was my boyfriend who encouraged me to give it a try. I hated it and we had an argument, but I have stuck it out and now I really enjoy it.

In terms of my football, I think golf is good for hand-eye co-ordination, but it has definitely taken some getting used to.

I used to play cricket so when I started I swung the club like a cricket bat, I wouldn't recommend playing both sports, there is a real technique overlap.