Goalkeeping star Nicola Hobbs saves lives by day and goals in the evening!
Nicola has proved to have a safe pair of hands – working as a firefighter and playing in goal for Doncaster Belles.
She was part of the team which won 2-1 at London Bees last Sunday to guarantee the club promotion – and a return to FA Women’s Super League for the first time since their controversial demotion in 2013.
Nicola, 28, who now lives in Birley, Sheffield, signed for the Belles in August 2008 at the age of 21. By November of the same year she was starting another new position - this time as a firefighter at Rotherham Fire Station.
She said: “It’s brilliant that we have been promoted, but we still have two more important games ahead of us.
“It is very difficult sometimes. Pretty much as soon as the whistle was blown at the game on Sunday I had to get myself ready for a week-long course with the fire service. I wanted to go out with everyone and celebrate, but the celebrations will have to wait.
“If it wasn’t for support from other watch members I wouldn’t be able to do both jobs. I have to swap shifts sometimes or use my holiday for matches. I don’t mind doing it though.
“I think it’s good to have a job and a hobby that I love – it keeps me active and I think it’s good to have a balance. I will play football for as long as I can, but I know I can’t play forever. It’s good to have something to look back on.”
Nicola added that she would like to thank all the fans for their support.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service tweeted their congratulations to Nicola and the Belles following their promotion.
They said: “Well done to our brilliant firefighter & @donnybelles goalkeeper @nichobbs25 who helped win promotion to the @FAWSL.”
Chris Bennington, Belles goalkeeper coach, also sent his congratulations to Nicola via the social media site.
Many more took to Twitter to praise the club, including TV host Dermot O’Leary.
He tweeted: “Huge congrats to @donnybelles for winning promotion to a league they shouldn’t have been kicked out of in the first place.”
Nicola started her career at Lincoln City where she was called up for a senior England training camp, following a successful Nordic Cup for the U21s in 2006 where she played in the 3-2 victory against Finland and came off the bench to feature in a 3-2 defeat to Germany.
She then made history by becoming the first Lincoln City player to be called into the full England women’s team. She decided to move into the National Division in 2007 after Lincoln failed to gain promotion and joined Blackburn Rovers.
In her early career, she represented England at Under-17, 19, 21 and Under-23 level.
When Nicola joined Green Watch, she was one of 24 new firefighters who were welcomed into South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue after successfully completing a 13-week training programme.
Belles host Oxford United today at 6.30pm at the Keepmoat Stadium in their penultimate league match.
John Buckley, the club’s former manager, said: “The girls should be congratulated. You don’t get promoted for no reason. I think they should have got promoted last year. I’m delighted for them. A lot of them have been there for years – they really deserve some form of celebration.”