#IWD2024: The British Army’s Amy Howell on balancing her career and new playing role at Surrey Storm

Balancing her love for netball and a career in the British Army has always been a priority for Amy Howell, but in 2024 she took it one step further, signing for Surrey Storm and debuting in the Netball Super League (NSL). We caught up with Amy to talk all about how she balances her career and netball and how her role as a Private in the British Army has helped strengthen her performances on and beyond the court.

Amy Howell joined the British Army straight from college after being inspired to follow in her older brother’s footsteps.

“When I was in college, I decided I didn’t want to go down the university route and my older brother is also in the Army,” she explained “So, I understood his career and the opportunities he was getting, and I decided I wanted to look into it.”

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Training as a Combat Medical Technician, Amy’s role is to give immediate first aid on the battlefield, focusing on trauma. On a day-to-day basis, Amy also helps to train the British Army in basic medical scenarios, keeping them up to date and making sure all equipment is always ready for use. For Amy, she recently got to experience being involved in the King’s Coronation, where she was stationed at Buckingham Palace in a medical assistance role and celebrates this as a strong career highlight.

It’s not just the versatility of the role in the Army that drew Amy to the position, but also thinking about combining her career with her passion for netball.

“When I was looking at the Army, I knew that they sponsor England Netball, and netball was always something I wanted to get involved with in the Army set-up. My brother also mentioned about the sport in the Army, so that encouraged me to get involved.

“The Army Netball’s got quite a big social media following, so whilst I was at college, I was following the Army Netball team, and this also made me want to get involved.”

An important vehicle for supporting her personal growth, Amy credits the British Army for helping her to develop many strengths and attributes also key to playing netball: “I would say quite a few of the Army’s values help on the netball court – commitment, fitness and strength.

“The Army is a very fit organisation and obviously that helps on court too, being able to hold your own and keep up with other players.”

In 2023, Amy made her debut at the Inter-Services competition for the reigning champions, the British Army, with the competition streamed live on YouTube. This opportunity was one which opened doors and conversations for Amy with Mikki Austin and Mel Mansfield at Surrey Storm, who were interested in recruiting her to last year’s fourth-placed Netball Super League team. Cut to February 2024 and Amy made her league debut in duck-egg blue in front of a 6,000 strong crowd at the NSL Season Opener.

“I’m really enjoying it [playing for Storm]. I’m loving the environment and learning off of other people and just getting as much support time as I can.”

With a brand-new challenge in the form of working full time and playing in the UK’s elite domestic league, how does Amy approach balancing it all?

“I’m still working five days a week, but training is mostly in the evenings and the Army’s very accommodating for a Wednesday morning training session.

“They allow me to go and train, and it’s just keeping that communication and conversation going with my unit, so they know what I’m doing and where I’m going.”

She believes that in the British Army there are great career opportunities, especially for young women, which allow you to pursue your love for playing netball and carve out an exciting work life too. Amy is not the first British Army recruit to feature in the Super League, with Sergeant Dee Bolakoro playing for Cardiff Dragons and Severn Stars during her stint in the NSL between 2020-22 as well as appearing internationally for Fiji at the 2019 and 2023 Netball World Cup.

Her advice to anyone thinking about getting involved in a role in the British Army?

“Absolutely go for it!

“There’s a trade for everyone in the Army – whether that’s being a chef, a medic, an electrician, or something else, there are all kind of different trades in the Army.

“Army sport and travel opportunities are also second to none. So, I would one hundred percent encourage anyone to get involved!”

Explore more about careers in the British Army here and follow Army Netball on twitter here.

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