Crystal Palace FC Women
Kate Louise Natkiel
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Attacking midfield / winger
2016 (On loan)
Portsmouth FC Women
Crystal Palace FC Women
Kate, Introduce yourself…
Hi my name is Kate Natkiel, who plays for Crystal Palace FC Women.
Who was the player, or players, you looked up to most growing up, and why?
My favourite player growing up was always Dimitar Berbatov, I used to love watching him play when he was at Spurs I used to love watching his technique, first touches and class on the ball.
Why did you start playing football? And were you immediately a striker ?
I started playing football from a young age with my dad in the garden who has always been a big football fan (Spurs) and then my parents took me to local soccer camps with the boys and I played from a young age at school & I never looked back from there, I loved every second.
I have always been more of an attacking player, however when I was at Arsenal I did have a season at right back!
In the past joined Arsenal’s youth academy under-10s. How did you get into the youth of Arsenal WFC ?
I attended an Arsenal Ladies soccer camp at my local sports centre when I was 8 or 9, and I remember it clearly, Casey Stoney & Emma Byrne were running the soccer camp, they invited me along to a trial for the centre of excellence which I was so excited for, I obviously attended, and I got selected from there!
How important was your time at Arsenal WFC in your development?
It was massively important for me – to start playing competitively from such a young age, and to have high quality training sessions from that age. It gives you a feel for what the demands of being a footballer are, the dedication and commitment that is needed as well as the discipline. I still play with / against quite a few of the players that was in my age groups at Arsenal, which shows that it definitely helps you develop. I learnt so much from 2 of my coaches in particular Kelley Few & Danny Buckley who played a massive part in my career.
In 2009, you began your senior career at Watford FC Women, and you played there more than 65 matches. Did you noticed a lot of difference between your youth academies and senior career ?
Yes there is a huge step up from playing centre of excellence football and senior football. The physicality of the girls, being 16 you can be playing against people of 30+ years of age that have years of experience playing at that level, so it’s always going to be hard finding your feet, however it’s great to learn from people older than you, and playing against them week in week out only helps you develop as a player. I enjoyed the challenge and the step up in competitiveness and training.
By Watford FC Women you was loaned out to Brighton & Hove Albion WFC. How did you experience these period?
Yes, this was the season the women’s super leagues were first formed, and there was a long period without any games as they shifted it from a winter toa summer league. I couldn’t be without playing for that long, similar to the other Watford girls we asked to be loaned to a team in another league. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on loan at Brighton, it was a great experience, the girls were very welcoming, I really enjoyed the training and matches and it definitely kept me fit in the period before the WSL2 started again. I loved the club at the time and the direction it was heading in, which was part of the reason why I signed for Brighton in 2015 fully.
In 2020, you signed for Crystal Palace FC Women. But what is the best thing about playing for SAFC Ladies?
After being at Brighton for a fairly long time I was excited for a new challenge, and raring to go. I was nervous about joining a new team after being at Brighton for a few years, but all of the players and staff made me feel so welcome straight away. It was nice to know that the staff believed in me, and had confidence in my ability which is exactly what I needed at the time. I used to play under James Marrs at Brighton which is a huge factor in why I joined, he knows how to get the best out of me as a player. The style of football that we play is huge and I’m really looking forward to getting back into training after a knee injury. We are very lucky to have great facilities, staff and players around us which is what makes it such a great environment.
You have played at several football clubs and in several divisions. At which club did you learned the most?
I have learned from everywhere I have been, from a young age at Arsenal that taught me the demands of football, the competitiveness, dedication and commitment that is needed. I learnt a lot at Watford Ladies. Transitioning into a senior set up, I was grateful for the opportunity to play in the first team at such a young age which only developed me as a player, made me more physical and understand the game more, I also attended college / academy at Watford and by training every day under John Solomon and Chris Thruston, it developed me physically and mentally alongside playing for the seniors.
At Brighton I learnt so much in my early seasons there under James, winning the premiership and championship play off final and getting promoted into the WSL and also having the opportunity to fulfil a life dream of being a professional footballer, was a great experience, and I am still learning and developing as a player at Crystal Palace under Dean & James.
Kate, what are your ambitions for the rest of your football career?
In the short term I am still recovering from a knee operation I had back in July, so my main goal at the moment is to continue rehabbing and strengthening to allow me to get back on the pitch as soon as possible. Following this I hope to be able to remain at Crystal Palace and get back playing to the standards I know I can reach before I had the injury. I know that the team we have now have the ability to go on and do great things, and I would love to be a part of that, back playing with a smile on my face and scoring some goals!