Tag Archives: UAL Sport

It’s not always about winning…

I sat there as the heavy rain fell, in pain and feeling so disappointed at not been able to help my team to push for victory.

For months, we had been preparing for this match, doing extra training sessions, eating more healthily and going to social events together so that every player felt a strong bond with their team-mates. We were ready for Varsity.

The annual multi-sport competition between University of the Arts London and Goldsmiths is a big day for both institutions and attracts a lot of interest among their students.

As captain of the UAL women’s football team, I woke for Varsity at 8am with butterflies in my stomach – a feeling of nervousness that I couldn’t shake all morning. I showered quickly, barely ate any breakfast and left for my college where the coach was waiting for us.

Even those players not involved had been asked to come along and support the team, and seeing all the girls talking and laughing made me feel better. I could see everyone was feeling positive and focused for the big game.

However, the 30-minute journey to the Varsity sports ground felt more like two hours, and I began to feel tense again. I tried not to let it show, although my feelings were obvious, and concentrated on my music.


On arrival, our excitement rose even further, and as we got changed, I started talking to motivate the girls, but my mouth was dry and what I was saying didn’t feel like it was enough.

Outside, the rain was pouring down, but we were ready. We left the changing room took to the pitch in silence, and I had never seen the team so focused. I met the Goldsmiths captain, and then the referee – the same one who booked my last year when I got a bit too passionate…

We talk and made our peace. This day should be one to remember and I wanted it to be a good memory.

The writer takes a corner before her injury

By now it had started hailing, but the ref signalled the start of the game. Five minutes in, the ball found me outside the box and in a split second I had fired it goalwards. The ball seemed to gain velocity and height as it beat the Goldsmiths ‘keeper and nestled in the net. Everyone was jumping around and hugging me.

My team-mate and best friend said “That’s what we needed, well done, mi capitano.” In that moment, I was so happy but, as my dad always says, it is not how you start but how you finish.

We were playing beautiful football, and I could hear people from UAL’s hockey, men’s football, netball and cheerleading squads chanting and cheering. Even the sun had suddenly come out as we pushed forward, desperate to make up for last year’s Varsity loss.

The second half began and we looked to maintain our momentum. But five minutes in again, I ran for a ball in our box but pulled up with a pain in my right calf. Even one step was painful. Seconds later, I felt the same pain my left leg. It was like I was in movie and someone had shot me as I fell down screaming.

I had never felt this pain before. I look up to see if someone could help me and suddenly I saw my centre-back running over. She grabbed my right leg and tried to stretch it, as if to alleviate cramp, but the pain remained.

I received treatment on the pitch, but to no avail, and was helped to the sidelines. People watching asked me what had happened. “I am okay, I will come back on in a bit,” I replied, but even as I stretched both legs, I felt broken and unable to take a step.


On 60 minutes, Goldsmiths equalised and I felt like I was letting my team down, that they needed my help and I couldn’t give it to them.

With 10 minutes left, they scored again to make it 2-1. Our midfield was disorganised and our defenders seemed to have forgotten everything they had been taught. The spirit so evident in the first half had gone out of the UAL team.

I was so mad at my players because they were not fighting hard like I had showed them. At the same time, I felt that if they weren’t capable of doing that without me, that meant I hadn’t done my job properly.

I was also bitterly frustrated at myself for getting injured because it was my last Varsity game and I had wanted to win it so badly. To make matters worse, not only did we lose our game, but UAL’s other teams also suffered narrow defeats to seal overall victory for Goldsmiths.

Afterwards, and in a more reflective mood, I realised that, yes, I am passionate about football and my team, but it’s a game, and sometimes we win but many others times, we lose.

It is the best way to learn from our experiences, not only sporting ones. It can also help me to approach situations in life. That is ultimately why I am so grateful to be able to play and to have been part of such a wonderful team.

Photos courtesy of UAL Sport.

Kovi Konowiecki’s career in football

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At the age of 23, Kovi Konowiecki has already enjoyed a globe-trotting career in football.

A native of California, he’s played the game in LA, New York, North Carolina, Germany, Belgium, Israel and now finds himself in London – turning out for his university while doing a Masters degree

Konowiecki talks about the trials and tribulation of chasing a career as a professional sportsman, a journey which has seen him come out the other end as a more rounded person.

Video package shot and edited by Will Mowbray

Beaten but not defeated

Being stuck on a winless run that even Aston Villa would look down on, Arts 2nds could be forgiven for wanting the current BUCS 7B season to end tomorrow.

However, despite his side having failed to win a league game in the first half of the campaign, captain Will Harvey remains optimistic they can achieve something between now and the season’s end.

In his first year as skipper, the centre-half has been disappointed by his side’s inability to convert good performances into points, but says he doesn’t believe their position at the foot of the table is a fair reflection of how they’ve performed.

“We’ve been in all of the games right into the final whistle, bar the game away to Essex 6ths. We’re not being outclassed, yet we sit joint bottom,” he told Elephant Sport.


With just six teams competing in their league, the 20-year-old knows just a few wins could propel his team upwards, but he is also very aware of the difficulties facing his side.

“Sometimes you need a bit of a luck and perhaps we haven’t got that in the first half of the season”

Their 6-1 loss to Essex 6ths is probably more of a comment on the fluid movement of players between sides at Essex University, rather than Harvey’s team’s limitations, and he admits the interchanging of players is a frustrating element of the uni’ game.

“A couple of weeks before that 6-1 loss, we beat Essex’s 4ths in the BUCS Cup. Yet when we go away to their ground – against nominally their 6th team – we’re playing against players who clearly play for teams at a higher level,” he said.

“It’s frustrating, but what can you do? We just need to just be the best we can be and hope that’s good enough on the day. Sometimes you need a bit of a luck and perhaps we haven’t got that in the first half of the season.”

Narrow losses

That Cup victory remains the 2nds’ solitary success this season, as in the next round, they suffered a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Kings College 3rds. Back in the league, narrow losses to Anglia Ruskin (5-3) and Essex 5th’s (4-2) came either side of a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur Community Foundation.

“We’re always a threat going forward. We just need to stop leaking goals”

Despite three losses in as many weeks, the lifelong Ipswich Town supporter picked out the performance against Spurs as an example of what the team were capable of – on their day.

“Everyone else who’s played Tottenham has been beaten comprehensively. We gave them a really good game and were extremely unlucky. We defended as team and were unlucky going forward,” said the Product Design student.

“We know we can score goals, we’re always a threat going forward. We just need to stop leaking them and defend better, and that’s throughout the team. We did that against Tottenham and we need to reproduce that going into the second half of the season.”


A return to form of star striker Emeka Dike, who scored four goals in four games, and Lewis Williamson’s comeback from injury supports Harvey’s claim the team is improving as an attacking force.

Yet while he is adamant his team needs to defend better as a whole, he admits a reduction in personnel from last year has caused selection problems.

“Last year we had seven centre backs for three teams. This year we probably only have three. Players having to play out of position is never something we want to have to do, but when it’s in a position as important as centre-back it just makes our job that little bit harder.”

The problems of attending an Arts university isn’t lost on Harvey, who still wants more players to join the club to create a competitive atmosphere.


“It’s difficult. We go to an Arts-based University and there aren’t really any sport-based courses, other than journalism. There isn’t a huge amount of people who are interested in football, but if there are any who are yet to join, they should know we always welcome new players.”

“I back us in any game we play and I can’t see why we can’t get three or four wins in the last five games”

“It creates a competitive atmosphere where everyone has to play their best to get a place in the side.”

Looking forward, Harvey believes his team can have a positive second half of campaign leading up to the biggest days of the season; Varsity. All 3 Arts football teams take on the Goldsmith football contingent, towards the end of the season, in the latest instalment of a 7-year-old University rivalry.

“I back us in any game we play and I can’t see why we can’t get three or four wins in the last five games. Obviously we have to be realistic and understand how high the standard of some the teams we’re playing are, but I have confidence.” The imposing centre-half said.

“Good form leading up to Varsity is important. Right now we’ll focus on the league, but it’s always in the back of our minds.”


With only one Varsity win out of six in the last two years, Harvey is determined to repeat the feat achieved by last years 3rd’s – a team he played in.

“It will be really special to lead the guys out, and to win as a captain on the day would make all the work worth it”

“That was a really great moment, winning Varsity. Unfortunately our other two teams didn’t manage the get the win but it doesn’t take away how special that day was.

“You’ve really got to be up for it. Goldsmith’s have got three good sides, and to win you have to keep a certain level of intensity throughout the game. I’m sure we’ll be up for it as well as they will be.”

It will be the first, and maybe the last, time Harvey will lead out a team for Varsity as he heads into a busy final year at university, meaning captaincy may no longer be a viable option along with his course.

“It will be really special to lead the guys out, and to win as a captain on the day would make all the work worth it. I don’t know if I can carry on as captain next year yet, I’ll have to see, so I want to make sure that if it my last game, I want it to be special.”