Eboni Usoro-Brown is one of the best English Roses to ever wear the GD bib. She’s quick, agile, strong and rebounds like Tigger after a strong dose of caffeine. She got her 100th England cap at the World Cup this year. And in 2018 she won the Commonwealth Gold, got married and passed her solicitor training. In ONE YEAR. Wowza.
But above all this exhausting hard work and enviable sporting success, Eboni seems like a calm, humble and level-headed person. She proved this when I contacted her on Instagram with a few questions, in preparation for this blog post.
Recording each of her answers and pinging them over as a voice message, she was clear and concise. The kind of person you’d want around in a disaster. Or leading you into the Superleague final. Unruffled and imperturbable. Steering a team to success, or giving a post-match interview – Eboni gives the impression that she’d take it all in her stride.
How old were you when you started playing netball?
I was around about six or seven when I started playing netball. I began in primary school where I did High 5 netball. Then when I went into year seven, I started playing the proper game.
What position did you start off as?
I’d always been a defensive player up until U17 England, when they tried to make me a shooter for a year. I went to the Europeans and scored, I think, seven out of seven in the first quarter and two out of nine in the second quarter…and I’ve been a defense player ever since!
Who’s your favourite player?
This is a really tough one. In terms of people I’ve enjoyed playing with…Sonia Mkoloma, the ex-England captain. Amanda Newton, another ex-England Captain. Geva Mentor, Stacey Francis and Sasha Corbin – who’s one of my best friends in netball. But there are too many legends, to name them all.
Best player you’ve ever played against?
The best player I’ve ever played against has got to be Jhaniele Fowler-Reid. She’s a formidable shooter; tall, athletic, accurate. And whenever I’m marking her, it’s always a challenge.
Do you think you have to be tall to be a netballer?
I don’t think you have to play netball. I’m actually considered to be a small defender, and I’m 6ft1. As long as you’ve got a good netball brain, agility, athleticism, good elevation (especially if you want to play in defence), it doesn’t matter. Netball really is a game for everyone.
My proudest achievement was standing on the podium at the Commonwealth Games and winning the gold medal. But I also think one of my proudest achievements, for me, was winning my 100th England cap at the World Cup this year, at home in front of my friend’s and family.
I remember being a 12-year-old at Wembley and dreaming about how one day I’d play for England. So, to rack up over 100 caps for England and representing my country was a lifelong ambition, and one I’m really proud of.
Hmmmm. That’s a really tough one. If I’m honest, I don’t really have many disappointments as I try to see them as learning experiences. So my biggest disappointment is…ermmm…I don’t know. It’s a tough question. It’s probably not winning more gold medals sooner, as it’s such an incredible feeling.
What’s the next step in your netball career?
My next big step is to have a formidable Superleague season with Team Bath this year. A final and a trophy have evaded us for a while now – so I’m going to my very best to lead the team to a championship.
Good luck in the the 2019/20 Superleague Eboni – I have a feeling this could be Team Bath’s year!