Life As A Pro
There are more and more opportunities for women in sport in Ireland. Not everyone gets there. It takes huge commitment, focus and determination. We met with DIANE CALDWELL, one of the few Irish female athletes playing abroad to get a taste of her life as a Professional Footballer!
“Life as a professional footballer is amazing and the only thing I dreamt of becoming as a kid. It had always been an ambition of mine to play in the German league, as undoubtedly it has been the best women’s league in the world for quite some time now.”
Name: Diane Caldwell
From: Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Club: SC Sand
League: Bundesliga, Germany
Senior Irish Caps: 67
Clubs: Hofstra University (USA), Thor KA (Iceland), Avaldsnes (Norway), FC Köln (Germany)
How did the opportunity come about to play professionally in Germany?
The opportunity to play in Germany simply came about through my agent and I jumped at the chance. It had always been an ambition of mine to play in the German league, as undoubtedly it has been the best women’s league in the world for quite some time now. So playing here was a massive goal achieved for me. I love the fact that I am challenged every day in training by my own teammates and at the weekend in every match by some of the best players in the world.
What is it life like as a pro footballer living in Germany?
Perhaps I came with the wrong impression but it’s very different to what I had initially expected. I am living in the South of Germany, in the Black Forest area, so I am surrounded by natural beauty, mountain ranges and quaint traditional German Black Forest villages, which are absolutely beautiful. We get all the seasons so it is extremely hot in summer and cold with snow in winter, which I love. I feel at home here, which I guess is the best way to describe it.
Life as a professional footballer is amazing and the only thing I dreamt of becoming as a kid. It may not be as glamorous as in the men’s game but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love my job. It’s challenging on so many levels but also immensely rewarding.
What is your daily/weekly training schedules right now?
Well now we are in pre-season so our schedule is a bit different with more training sessions and matches but my regular daily/ weekly routine looks like this:
Monday: Recovery / Gym session
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: Athletic training (morning session) / Football (evening session)
Thursday: Gym session (morning session) / Football (evening session)
Friday: Football (evening session)
Saturday: Football (morning session)
So on average in season approximately: 7 training sessions per week and 1 match. The training load is light at the beginning of the week following the Sunday match. It becomes heavy mid week and tapers off at the end of the week in preparation for the match on Sunday.
What is your personal philosophy about health/fitness?
My personal mantra is the title of a book; “Every Day is Game Day”. It is an excellent book written by Mark Verstegen that explains this concept simply but in fine detail. Basically, what it means is living each day like competition day. Everyday I am preparing for it with my mindset, fueling for it with my nutrition, training for it with movement and resting for it with recovery. Health and Fitness for me isn’t a phase or a diet or a season. It’s 24/7 365 days of the year.
What are your tips for any young driven soccer players looking to go pro like you?
To anyone young and driven wanting to make it pro I would suggest firstly reading that book and secondly, to commit to making those four pillars of Mindset, Nutrition, Training and Recovery routines, which ultimately become subconscious habits. Then they can effectively begin training themselves across a platform for high performance.
Interesting fact about you and Temple Dairy already. What’s the link?
I was lucky enough to play with Marie Curtin who is also the Founder & Director of Temple Dairy for the Ireland senior women’s national team. We were also college roommates at Hofstra University in New York while we were both studying there on soccer scholarships. So we go way back and have many fond memories together.
Back Row left to right: Michelle O’Brien, Diane Caldwell. Emma Byrne, Sharon Byrne, Ciara Grant, Edel Malone
Front Row left to right: Sonya Hughes, Olivia O’Toole, Elaine O’Connor, Marie Curtin, Alisha Moran
We know you’re a fan of Temple Dairy! Why?
I love the Temple Dairy products because of their natural and fresh Irish ingredients. The products also work as the perfect post workout recovery tool with their ideal Carbohydrate to Protein ratio. I certainly wouldn’t endorse anything that isn’t good for your health and the fact that the products taste great is an added bonus, with my personal favourite being the new strawberry flavour. In addition, I love how Marie Curtin and her family have created this natural product from their very own dairy farm in Rosstemple. That in itself is a truly special achievement.
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