In the Spotlight | Bec Thomas

Goalkeeper Bec Thomas dissects the number one position before delving into the future to predict what her career, Wolves Women and women’s football could look like in five years’ time.

Did you always want to be a goalkeeper?

When I first started playing I was David Beckham mad, so played right-wing until I was about 14 as I only ever wanted to be like him. I was at Wolves in the under-14s where we played in a tournament and we all had to go in goal and one of the coaches said I had ability there and I’ve played in goal ever since.

What is the best part of being a goalkeeper?

The best part about it is the thrill of keeping the ball out of the net and making that crucial save to help your team win. On the other side of that, mentally, I find it really hard when I concede though and do take conceding to heart, but I think that’s because I’ve got high expectations of myself.

What is the hardest part of being a goalkeeper?

Definitely the mental side of things. If I concede, it takes us scoring or me to make a really good save to get back in a positive mindset because I am someone who holds on to it and I beat myself up a lot as I take things quite personally even if the goal wasn’t my fault as it’s had to go through 10 other players first.

What qualities are needed to be a goalkeeper?

You need to be good with both your hands and feet. Back when I first started it was all about keeping the ball out of the net, but the way football is now, goalkeepers are an extra outfielder, you also need patience, especially when dealing with the setbacks of not being a number one. There’s only one position you can play in as a keeper, and that’s something I’ve really struggled with.

What do you work on most as a goalkeeper?

I’m massive about distribution and it’s something everybody comments on. They love it when I ping the ball to them. Anything that we do in training that involves distribution or even when shooting against the other keepers, I love it! But we work on loads of stuff depending on who we are playing.

What other position would you like to play?

I’m definitely not fit enough to run up and down the wing anymore, but they always say goalies are secret strikers and vice-versa. So if I can just stand there in front of goal and get a few, I wouldn’t mind.

What is the hardest other position to play?

Keeper is definitely the hardest and I don’t remember which position I found most difficult as it was a long time ago when I played outfield, but strikers do have a lot of pressure on them to score, so maybe them.

Which other goalkeeper do you watch and learn from?

Most people would expect me to say Mary Earps, but growing up I never had a female idol because women’s football wasn’t massive back then. I’m 33 now, so it’s only in the last few years took off. I have my opinions, but I think every young goalkeeper would want me to say Mary Earps.

In five years’ time…

Personal achievements

It would be nice to still be playing. I’ve had a few injuries the last couple of years and I can feel that I’m getting older now, but I’m not running around like the other girls, so it’s probably easier for me to last a bit longer. To see us go up would be amazing and progress into the Championship would be great because we all deserve that. I would love to play in that league if people think I’m still good enough.

Wolves’ future

I can definitely see us being in the Championship because we have players coming in and out all the time and training along the younger lot, we have some really talented players coming through. We can definitely compete in a higher standard league, and we’ve shown that there are four teams in our league who do deserve to be playing higher than the Northern Prem.

Hopes for the women’s game

At Wolves, we do get a lot of backing from the club itself, but I hope that just keeps progressing, not just here, but across the game and that it gets more equal to the men. I know we have got teams who are full-time and I know that won’t happen for me, but that is what I’d like the younger lot to go and achieve. I would have loved to have been a footballer for a full-time job, but it just wasn’t the case.

Changes to women’s football

Apart from the refereeing I would just like to see everything progressing like it has been. The game’s come on a lot in the last five years and it’s already really good, so a bit more funding into it to allow women’s teams to have their own training facilities where you can be in and out as you like would be brilliant. The game just needs a lot more backing from the FA.

Remembering the current Wolves team

A team who doesn’t give up. We have had our setbacks in the league, having been in a situation where we’ve won our league but, unfortunately, with the way the structure used to be, we weren’t automatically promoted. But the one thing we’ve got over other teams is that we’re a group, we don’t give up and we always stick together.

This article originally featured in Wolves' official 2023/24 matchday programme. Last season's programmes are still available to purchase online through retailers Curtis Sports