Sophie Franklin: Joining the Dreadnoughts

Sophie is a local 16 year old who attended the Fitness Festival with no idea that she would join the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts American Football club and is now having the time of her life.

“As someone who has just finished year 11, I don't tend to get out of the house as much as I know I really should. When my friend invited me to go to the Fitness Festival I was more than happy to accept. At this point I was getting into the idea of being in better shape, just to feel generally healthier so seeing a stall for a sport I've always wanted to try out seemed like a miracle. Looking back, I believe I saw them at the Portsmouth Pride event the year previous but hadn't had the confidence to join. A year later, getting to join a team where I'm treated like an adult seemed a great way to spend my summer.

The Portsmouth Dreadnoughts Women’s Team is an American Football team based here in Portsmouth. The team offers the opportunity to play 7-a-side contact. Contact is something not offered in many sports but an amazing way to battle stress; simply wearing the kit offers a great confidence boost. Starting in 2017 the womens' team placed as runners up in Division 2A then continued the success becoming Division 2A National Champions in 2018. Hopefully next season will only be better.


Since the big win in 2018, the team have had a complete rebuild, looking to create the next team to continue its success and welcome all women to join the family. Being one of the new members and having been to a few practices, I have found another activity that is so easy to love and enjoy. There are people who wouldn't believe how welcoming, and friendly the atmosphere really is. Being the youngest player at practice and not actually knowing much about the sport had me feeling a little self-conscious at first, so I brought brownies to the second session. Even without the bribe the ladies were so welcoming, willing to repeatedly explain the play or activity and constantly encouraging everyone. I have easily found out more about adult life from them in a total time of a couple hours than I ever did at school. There has been no shortage of laughs and I've still left every session feeling better than I did before, mistakes aren't criticised like they are with some sports and clubs. It's fun and exactly what you want out of a sports club.

The amazing thing about American Football is it takes people of all shapes and sizes working together at the same time to make a successful play and team. It's not all about the fast runners or hard hitters - it's about teamwork, discipline and playing your role. No one person can succeed on their own, you depend on the people around you to protect you and help make you better. This is what being a team is all about.”