Sophie Bray has re-signed for East Grinstead Hockey Club. The "Golden Girl" who won European and Olympic Gold along side Laura Unsworth is returning from two years with Kampong in Netherlands, to EG where she played an instrumental role alongside former star 'keeper Kirsty Mackay in EG's progression to the Premier League...
Sophie, its been a couple of years since you were last with us here at EG, what have you been up to ?
I have not been around the club the last two seasons because after Rio I went back to Holland to play in the Dutch Premier league for Kampong. The club set up there is extremely professional with teams training five times a week together and I'd decided to take the opportunity to learn from one of the best strikers in the world, Santi Frexia, who had signed to coach the team. Playing abroad in another league means that you play with and against different players and a different style which helps me to improve me game and keep learning. Alongside playing for Kampong I have been part of the GB centralised programme, competing in the Euros, Commonwealths and World Cup. I have also been studying for a masters in Occupational Psychology. It has been a fairly busy couple of years !!Sophie Bray
Playing in the Netherlands must have been amazing. What can you share about the experience ?
Yes it is, I absolutely loved playing out in Holland. I love the style of hockey, the league is extremely competitive and means a lot to each and every club. The club I played for had nine hockey pitches, which was home for 40 men's teams and 40 women's teams ! The junior section was also massive !! There was always great support for the men's and women's first teams and I am very thankful for the opportunity to play for the club. I would have loved to have made top four and playoffs with the team but unfortunately it was not to be. I will certainly miss playing for the club very much and will be following their progress this season. However I am very excited to be back at Saint Hill and am looking forward to the new challenges ahead.Sophie Bray
What made you decide to come back to East Grinstead ?
I am looking forward to playing for the club again and I am excited for the season ahead. If I am honest having not played in the Premier league for a period of time I am unsure of other teams and what they are like. It has been great to see the EG ladies make the top four the last two seasons having been fairly new into prem so it would be great to make top 4 again. However it is crucial that we don't look too far ahead and instead focus on being in a position before the indoor starts that we are still in the running for top four qualification and that we have everything still to play for come second half of the season.
The team is having a good pre season and there is a really nice mix of energetic talented youngsters and more experienced players. I am yet to join preparations as it has been important to have a break and also allow my shoulder to recover but I hope to join the team out on the pitch soon.Sophie Bray
Sophie made her scoring debut for EG at the "Five Feathers" Tournament in August 2014. An important season lay ahead for our Ladies' 1st Team in which Sophie would play a major part
A club highlight was the Ladies' victory against Slough in the Semi Final of the Indoor in January 2014. Although the squad had to wait another year for their first title, the moment Sophie beat the now well known Maddie Hinch clearly brought joy to many - including Sophie herself !