Sophie loves her new sporting role

Sophie ReesThe first ‘Sport Pembrokeshire’ profile of 2022 falls on one of the newest members of the team, Sophie Rees.
Sophie is an Active Young People Officer and like many of her colleagues, sport has always played a large part in her life.

Sophie has had success in her own chosen sports . . .

A talented sportswoman, Sophie represented West Wales at netball and gained full Welsh caps at hockey at U16, U18 and U21 levels.
Rugby was another love and, after deciding to go back to rugby after a period of hockey being number one during secondary school, Sophie soon rose through the ranks.
While playing as scrum half for Haverfordwest Ladies, Sophie was selected for Scarlets Ladies and played for a further two seasons.

. . . But injury forced a change of direction

Unfortunately a ruptured ACL ended a promising rugby career with Sophie deciding to concentrate on her Postgraduate degree in Teaching (PGCE).
But you can’t keep a good sportswoman down and Sophie has now found a new sporting love; CrossFit with CrossFit Pembrokeshire.
Sophie’s path to a career with Sport Pembrokeshire began through volunteering in her old primary school while doing a BSc. (Hons) degree in Sports Science.
Sophie said: “I used to support and help to develop pupils’ skills and sporting abilities alongside the then 5x60 officer, Dan Bellis.

Joined Sport Pembrokeshire after gaining teaching experience

“Following my Sports Science degree I completed my Primary PGCE and then went on to teach in Portfield School, Haverfordwest for three years before having my little girl in December last year.
“I started working for Sports Pembrokeshire in September 2021 and I am thoroughly enjoying the role so far.”
The role of Active Young People Officer entails working with small groups of individuals, who have been identified by the school.
Sophie said: “The pupils I work with may need support with their confidence and self-esteem, have behavioural or social and emotional needs.
“Working with pupils in smaller groups helps them to work at their own pace and level more confidently. They can then transfer the skills they have learnt to other everyday situations.”

Lots of encouragement for pupil participation

Part of the role also involves offering and providing a variety of extra-curricular clubs such as dodgeball, basketball, girls’ football and more recently a breakfast sports club to help motivate and engage pupils in participating in more physical activity.
Support and assistance is also provided to the PPE team in primary schools, teaching PE lessons in Primary Schools to children in both Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2.
Asked why it is so important to keep investing in school and community sport for youngsters, Sophie said: “It is vital because for some children it is their only way of participating in regular physical activity. 
“Some children aren’t necessarily able to access sport outside of the school/community due to a variety of different barriers.
“So, if they do not get opportunities to take part in physical activity in school and or the local community they may not get the opportunity at all.

Different activities can play an important role for children

“Providing a variety of different activities both in school and the community will help to ensure that children are given the opportunity to develop different skills, such as their gross motor, communication, team work and leadership skills (plus more) which can be utilised and transferred into everyday life.
“Physical activity has always played an active role in helping both physical and mental health, even more so in the last couple of years with COVID, so it is imperative that we continue to invest in school and community sport.”
Talking of her hopes for school sport in Pembrokeshire moving forward, Sophie added: “Since the pandemic it has had an adverse effect on children’s gross motor skills and fitness levels. As a result I would like to see daily, allocated times for sport or physical activity in schools to help bridge that gap and ensure that all children are supported as best as possible.”
At it is easy to see how committed Sophie Rees is to her important role in our schools and we wish her every success in the future!