Defroand happy to support SportsAid Week

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 September 2017

Emily Defroand and Shona McCallin supported Sports Aid Week (pic Sportsbeat/Roberto Payne)

Emily Defroand and Shona McCallin supported Sports Aid Week (pic Sportsbeat/Roberto Payne)

© Sportsbeat/Roberto Payne

They say you should never meet your heroes but for England newcomer Emily Defroand playing alongside Olympic champions is everything she expected.

Former Havering youngster Defroand, who now plays for Surbiton, won bronze with England at the Euro Hockey Championships last month with some of Great Britain’s Rio Olympic legends.

The team included goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, who kept the Dutch team goalless in the Olympic final penalty shootout, and Hollie Webb, whose penalty sealed the gold-medal win.

Defroand has worked her way up through the England age-groups, captaining the under-21 and under-18s. Now the 23-year-old has a senior bronze under her belt, it has been a special few months.

“It’s quite a cliché when I say it, but I’ve looked up to these players for so many years and sharing a pitch with them is just amazing,” said Defroand, during SportsAid Week – a fundraising drive designed to support athletes striving to represent Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

“Everyone is just so welcoming, especially when I first came into the squad.

“I think everyone can now see how close we are as a collective unit, one key strength of our squad is that everyone is really tight knit.

“With the successes the girls have had over the past two years, it’s a fantastic time to be part of the GB and England hockey team.”

Hockey captured the British public’s imagination after Rio and more than 100,000 World Cup tickets have been applied for, as the event comes to London next year.

Defroand admits playing in front of a home crowd is an enticing prospect, adding: “This time next year in the summer we’ll have a home World Cup – not many people can say they’ve played in a home World Cup – so it’s a very exciting time.

“But our main priority over the coming weeks will be developing as a team and building on the European bronze for future successes in upcoming tournaments.

“It’s a really exciting year, we’ve got the World League finals in a few months’ time in New Zealand – so that will be the main focus for now.”

You can help support the next generation of British athletes throughout SportsAid Week (September 25-October 1). Visit for more information on the #MyMiles challenge.

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