Females Flourishing in Football: The Bestwick Family

March 14th, 2016

Photo courtesy of Dave Evans Photography

Bestwick is a surname now synonymous with football across the Forster/ Tuncurry region after Kathie and Tony Bestwick relocated from Bathurst to Forster in 2009. Over the past 7 years Kathie and her daughters; Nikita, Jessica and Samantha, have been forging the way forward for football in their coastal town which cannot go unnoticed.  The ladies of the Bestwick Family have a passion for football which exceeds that of just playing the beautiful game, with all undertaking several roles from coaching, referring, to administration.

Soon after arriving in Forster the Bestwicks connected with local football club Greenpoint Rovers FC and within a few years Kathie was Secretary alongside her daughter Jessica who was President of the club. During their time at Greenpoint their passion for female participation in football was evident with the club boasting the highest percentage of female players in the region. In 2015 the Bestwicks made the bittersweet move from Greenpoint Rovers to bigger and better opportunities within Football Mid North Coast’s Womens Premier League.

Kathie Bestwick now the Womens Premier League Coordinator for Football Mid North Coast grew up playing football so it was only natural that her daughters followed suit.  Kathie started playing in the early 70’s in a team coached by two of her brothers.  “It wasn’t popular for girls to play football, but I didn’t care. I love it and nothing was going to stop me.

“Thankfully now opinions are changing and its becoming more widely known as a female sport, especially this week with our Matilda’s doing such a superb job and qualifying for the Olympics. I believe females playing football will continue to grow and if I can help with that I will”

Kathie’s passion for Female Football was recognised by Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) who offered her the role of WPL Coordinator for the 2015 season. She will continue within this role in 2016 which sees her working closely with players, coaches and Parents to ensure that game day runs smoothly.  When describing her role in the WPL Kathie is gleeful stating.

“I really enjoy this role and why wouldn’t I? I get to watch all games from the box seat, work with some very talented coaches plus I get 50+ extra daughters for the season”

A personal highlight for Kathie throughout her football career was being able to see her three daughters compete in the Viking Challenge together in one team.

Jessica Evans nee Bestwick, Kathie’s eldest daughter started playing football at age 5 and is now a player/coach in Football Mid North Coast’s WPL team.  Jess was President at Greenpoint Rovers FC and along with Kathie has a passion for Female Football. Jess has been responsible for coordinating NNSWF MiniRoos Kick-Off for Girls program in Forster (previously Quick –Kicks) and Coaching Girls teams for under 12-under 16s both at a community and representative level.

When thinking about her involvement in football Jess is thankful for the growth in Womens Football, “it gave me the opportunity to continue playing with women and girls who I felt comfortable with. Each year it becomes easier to be a female in this sport and it’s great to see its growth.”

Nikita Bestwick is Kathie’s second Daughter also started playing football at an early age, however gave up at the age of 12 when she was told there weren’t enough players to support an all-girls team. Nikita returned to football at age 16 and after moving to Forster she received a scholarship through NSR to move to America and play college football. Nikita attended and played football for Emmanuel College Lions in Franklin Springs Georgia, where she stayed for three seasons and studied a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. Returning home to Forster she started playing in the WPL for Football Mid North Coast and has also been coaching within the MiniRoos Kick-Off for Girls Program.

Nikita enjoys every aspect of Football, but especially the times she shares with her family because of it. “We love it. Mum spends every Sunday at the fields when WPL is on. She gets there early for the 14’s and stays all the way through to the opens. Dad also comes to watch our games and supports us.”

‘If there is an A-League game on, and we can all get together, we usually have dinner and watch it debating which play was better or what they should have done instead. We often make the trip to Newcastle to watch the Newcastle Jets at home and when possible and we really enjoyed the double header with the W-League game this season’. “

Samantha Bestwick is the youngest of the Bestwick clan. Sam started playing at 9 years of age in Forster and has represented Football Mid North Coast at State Championships in 2011 and 2013 where they were crowned champions under Coach Matt Baker.  She is currently playing WPL and Coaching in the MiniRoos Kick off for girls. Sam is focused on improving her skills being the assistant coach for the under 12’s Great Lakes Development Centre for FMNC and enjoying the season with her family.

The Bestwick girls due to their passion and commitment are an inspiration to the development of female football within the Northern NSW region, especially for Football Mid North Coast.


Profile | Nikita Bestwick

General Background? 
I started playing at the age of six for Macquarie United Soccer Club< Bathurst NSW. I played with them up until age 12 with my cousins when we were told that we couldn’t play with the boys anymore. Macquarie didn’t have an All Girls team and I didn’t want to play for another club so I stopped playing for 4 years.

I represented Bathurst District Soccer Association in under 12s.

At 16 I joined the Ladies comp for Macquarie United and played there until we moved to Forster where I played for Green Point Rovers. In 2011 I went to America on a scholarship through NSR and played for the Emmanuel College Lions in Franklin Springs Georgia, I stayed  for three seasons whilst studying a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.

In 2014 I made in into the FMNC WPL squad and have played with them since.

Roles in football?
I coached the Under 16’s girls for Greenpoint Rovers. I participated as a coach in Girls Quick Kicks and I managed the Under 16’s girls FMNC WPL Squad in 2015.

Whilst in America and here in Forster I have also spent some time as a Referee holding a junior referee badge

How you feel being female in football?
I love playing football and I love representing women in this sport. Like in most sports, women do get looked over as they aren’t as fast as the boys or kick as hard as the boys. But we can play just as well as the boys.

Why you have a passion for football?
IT came from playing football at a young age with my family. All my cousins, aunts and uncles played football and it brought us all together. Mum and Dad supported us throughout the years in anything we wanted to do regarding the sport. They took us to trials, training, and games. The only rule they had was that if you registered and became a part of the team, you attended every game, training and meeting that you possibly could and you weren’t allowed to bail out halfway through the season.

If you registered, you were part of the team for the whole season.

How much do you enjoy football together as a family?
We love it. Mum spends every Sunday at the fields when WPL is on. She gets there early for the 14’s and stays all the way through to the opens, Dad comes and watches our games and supports us.

If there is an A-League game on, and we can all get together, we usually have dinner and watch it together debating which play was better or what they should have done instead. Often making the trip to Newcastle to watch the Newcastle Jets at home and when possible, making it a double header with the girls game.

What your main aim currently / what are you working towards? 
I’m working toward keeping my knees and ankles intact. They aren’t liking me this year. I really just want to play football.


Profile | Samantha Bestwick

General Background?
I started playing the game at the age of 9 in the under 10’s Greenpoint Rovers in Forster in 2009 and continued to play with the club until 2014, being involved in 2 Grand Finals . In 2010, I was selected to play for the under 11’s development squad and have represented FMNC every year since, including being selected in the under 12’s State Titles squad in 2011 and again for the under 14’s squad in 2013. This team took out the honours of Northern NSW State Champions under Coach Matt Baker. In 2014, I was selected in the WPL Under 18’s Squad and again in 2015, where I predominantly played in the 1st Grade Squad and have been lucky enough to have been selected in the 2016 Squad.

Roles in football?
Player, Grass Roots Coaching Clinic (2014), Refereeing (2014), Quick Kicks/ AIA Vitality Mini Roos for Girls Instructor (2014/15), Holiday Coaching Clinic for FMNC in Taree (2015) and currently assistant coach to the under 12’s Great Lakes Development Centre for FMNC.

How you feel being female In football?
Being a female football player can be tough at times, but that is what makes it all the more loveable, a challenge is always fun.

Why you have a passion for football?
I have a passion for football as I feel it is genetic, my mum played it, my sisters played it, and my brother played it. Football is an amazing game, and there are always new things to learn. You can never be the “best” player, as there are always higher levels to achieve.

How much do you enjoy football together as a family?
As a family, we are all very passionate about our football and have a long line of previous experiences in the game. We have all only ever played together once, in a 6-a-side comp. in the Great Lakes, where my mum Kathie, my two sisters Jess and Nik and myself all played in the same team for the whole 6-a-side season. What makes this passion really set in is that we can converse about football and debate our opinions on certain topics (e.g whether a certain tackle should have been a foul or not).

What is your main aim currently / what are you working towards?
My main aim for football is to just play the game I love, and if it gets me somewhere, great! I’m working towards just getting my skills and abilities to a higher level.


Profile | Jess Evans

General Background?
Started playing at 5 until I was 13 with Macquarie United then I had a few years break between juniors and seniors before I began playing again. Continued playing when we relocated from Bathurst to Forster with Green point rovers and had my first year of WPL in 2015

Roles in football?
I have been a Player, girls team coach and manager between 12 and 16 year olds (both at a club level and representative level), president of Club committee, co-ordinator for quick kicks.

How you feel being female In football?
As a young player I enjoyed playing with the boys as most of them were cousins or friends I had grown up with however as I got older I was thankful for the growth in women’s football to give me the opportunity to continue playing with women and girls who I felt comfortable with. Each year it becomes easier to be a female in this sport and it’s great to see its growth.

Why you have a passion for football?
It is a great sport that develops so many foundation movement skills in young players. It’s also a great way to develop friendships and keep fit over winter

How much you enjoy football together as a family?
My family is one of the main reasons I am so passionate and involved. With all of us involved in one form or another it’s easy to stay motivated and have fun

What your main aim currently/ what are you working towards?
It would be great to see female football continue to grow and gain more interest and publicity and for us to change people’s views on football being just for boys. It would also be great to see some more sponsorship come in with this increased interest so our programs can be more readily affordable to all players.


Profile | Kathie Bestwick

General Background? Age started playing, history, etc.
I started playing football for Bathurst PCYC in under 10s in the mid-seventies, only girl in a team of boys coached by my brothers.

My senior club was Macquarie United Football Club, Bathurst and then Greenpoint Rovers Football Club, Forster; I also represented Bathurst District Soccer Association in Women’s Football

For my day job I work side by side with my husband Tony driving trucks and doing the administrative work in our Earthmoving Business

Roles in football?
I started working with FMNC as a manager of the under 11s Girls development squad in 2010, and under12s in 2011, in 2012 I coached the under14s girls development and the under 16 girls SYL side in 2013, during this year I was also manager for the FMNC under 14s girls State Titles Team, that won the State Championships in Coffs Harbour.  I then returned to a manager role in 2014 for the under 18s WPL. Then I was offered the role of WPL co-ordinator for 2015 which was the first year that the competition took in all four age groups, A role that I absolutely love, I will continue this role in 2016

In 2013 and 2014 I was also the secretary for Greenpoint Rovers Football Club.

I hold a senior coaching licence.

How you feel being Female In football?
I love it – when I was young it was very unpopular for girls to play football but I didn’t care I loved it and nothing was going to stop me. Thankfully now opinions are definitely changing from a predominately male sport to becoming more widely known as a female sport, especially this week with our Matilda’s doing such a superb job and qualifying for the Olympics. I believe females playing football will continue to grow and if I can help with that I will

Why you have a passion for football?
I am number 12 of 14 children most of which played soccer and at one point we had 7 of us playing for the same club (Macquarie United Football Club, Bathurst)

I always loved playing football with and watching my brothers play, it was just always part of my early years

I love what it gives back to you – new friends, skills, fitness, a release from pressures of school or work.

I love what it teaches you – leadership, sharing, respect, commitment, time management.

I just love the fun, laughter and enjoyment you get from playing and training with your team.

How much you enjoying football together as a family?
Married to Tony with 4 children Jessica 25, Nikita 24, Damien 19 and Samantha 16 all of who have played football with Greenpoint Rovers Football Club and the 3 girls all play in the FMNC WPL senior squad. Trips to Newcastle become a family outing sometimes even a weekend getaway.

When our children were born I guess they were lead towards football however they were given the opportunity to play whatever they wanted which they did. The girls always being drawn back to football, whilst Damien preferred his cricket.

My personal highlight was playing with all three of my girls together in the summer 6aside competition run by Great Lakes Vikings. It was a long wait until Sam was old enough but definitely worth the wait – it was a real buzz

What your main aim currently / what are you working towards?
I would like to see female football grow and players become as equally respected as their male counterparts

My immediate focus is on the 2016 WPL season and more importantly the FMNC Squads. I work closely with FMNC, the coaches, girls and parents keeping everyone informed on what is going on and making sure game days run as smoothly as possible.

I really enjoy this and why wouldn’t I? I get to watch all games from the box seat, work with some very talented coaches plus I get 50+ extra daughters for the season  🙂

I have always been a big believer in if you do what you love – you’ll love what you do.

How then can you not enjoy it? I love Football it is awesome.

Related Topics:
Female Football Week

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