Yasmin Parsons of the Vitality Roses and Surrey Storm.

Yasmin Parsons will captain her country in late September after being selected to guide a 12-strong squad through Netball Europe Open in Belfast.

The Surrey Storm player has already been handed the captaincy at previous major international tournaments and has experience of leading a young side.

Parsons has collected a wealth of experience during her career but it was her formative years that shaped her into the player she is today.

“I remember asking what netball was”

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Parsons balances her netball career with her job as a school teacher. The 26-year-old often has her pupils attend her matches in the Vitality Netball Superleague due to her infectious passion for the sport.

The centre/wing attack is in the perfect position to introduce netball to the next generation of young girls and this is exactly how she started her own sporting journey.

“I started playing netball when I was in year five. Netball came up on a list of clubs at my junior school and I remember going home to my mum to ask what netball was. She told me to get involved in it and give it and go,” said Parsons.

“I remember turning up to my first-ever netball training session and I have loved it ever since. I was about 10 years old when I started playing netball and it’s just evolved so much, to the point where I’m now representing my country.”

“When I first started playing, I was a wing attack”

Parsons has gone onto play for her country and lift two Vitality Netball Superleague titles for Team Bath and Surrey Storm respectively.

She has earned her place in those starting line-ups due to her fantastic ability and intelligence in the centre of the court.

Her expertise is a result of years of mastering her craft. The former Team Bath player began her netball journey in that area of the court and, barring a brief spell at goal defence, has been there ever since.

“When I first started playing netball, I was strangely playing at wing attack. Believe it or not, I was quite tall back at school so when I got into secondary school my teachers decided to change my position and put me in at goal defence,” she explained.

“I then moved from my first-ever club to Weston Park Blades and remained in that position. It wasn’t until Jan Crabtree looked at me and said: ‘You’re definitely not a goal defence or goal keeper. We’re going to move you into centre and wing attack’. I’ve stayed in these positions ever since.”

“I’d like to have her attributes in my game”

Due to that foray into a more defensive area, Parson’s idols were originally playing as goal keepers. One that sticks out is a young Geva Mentor, who Parsons met as a teenager.

“Because of my position at the time, my first role model was definitely Geva Mentor. When I got to the Hampshire Youth Games, I remember Geva Mentor being there in her England kit.

“I think she was around 18 at the time. I still have the photo of me standing next to her when I was about 12 or 13. I remember thinking that I really wanted to be like her when I was older.”

As her game has evolved, though, her netballing role models have shifted towards more mid-court players including Vitality Netball World Cup-winning captain Laura Langman.

“As I’ve moved up into the system and changed position, I started to look at international mid-courters. Laura Langman was a big standout for me. Her change in direction, speed, strength and quick decision-making are all just insane. She’s unbelievable and I’d like to have her attributes in my game.”

“Your connections help you grow into the person you become” 

The Netball Europe Open captain and Storm vice-captain is in a position where she can help influence her teammates and young talent coming through.

Parsons found herself learning from influencers of her own right from primary school through to the Vitality Roses.

“I have lots of people who have been key influences on me since I started my netball career. Firstly, my mum was the one that suggested doing netball and has supported me ever since. She was just awesome in supporting me and she still is to this day. She still stands in the crowd to support me,” she said.

“I’ve had lots of amazing coaches too. Jan Crabtree has definitely helped me pursue my dreams and my career, she’s literally been my biggest supporter. I phone her all the time when I’ve got something or questions to ask. She’s always there. We always offer to go to M&S for a coffee and we just chat about things.

“She’s actually also been my biggest critic but in a good way. I know I’ve always wanted to push on and be the player she wants me to be. Through all her yelling, I definitely have progressed in my career so she is an awesome person who has got me to where I am today. It’s your connections that help you grow into the person that you become today.”

“It’s absolutely amazing to be in the Roses programme”

Parsons began her England career at an early age and went onto represent her nation at every youth level before taking a four-year break from the sport.

Yasmin Parsons and England's Netball World Youth Cup 2013 squad.

Yasmin Parsons and England’s Netball World Youth Cup 2013 squad. Photo Credit | Team Bath.

She has since been invited to the Quad Series, finished runners-up to New Zealand in Fast5 and has represented England A on a number of occasions.

Parsons therefore has the ability to call on her previous experiences in the red dress.

“I started my England career at about 15. I started off going to regional selection and from there went to national screening. I didn’t get selected for nationals and remember being told that I just needed another year of experience and to get stronger. I got floored a couple of times in the trial.

“I went away for a year, came back and then got through. I was then selected into the 12 for U17 Netball Europe. It was amazing because I actually got asked to be captain and then at the end of that tournament I also got Player of the Tournament as well. That was a phenomenal year for me.

“I then progressed through the stages with England U19s and U21s. I then got selected for the Netball World Youth Cup in Glasgow and that was just absolutely phenomenal. I then represented the senior side on a few occasions. After my break, I got into the Roses programme so I’m absolutely amazed to be here for my first year.”

“My aim is just to soak everything up”

The coming year is a big one for Parsons both at international and club level. It was announced that she would be travelling to Belfast for Netball Europe Open and Storm will have ambitions of improving on last season’s eighth-place finish.

Parsons has underlined her aims for the season ahead and will hope that the next 12 months will represent another positive step in her journey thus far.

“My aims for 2019/20 are just to soak up everything, to be a real sponge and take in this phenomenal opportunity for me. Obviously, all of us want to be selected into those competitions that we have coming up. For me, it would definitely be to be selected for those. It’s really exciting. I also want to progress further in the Vitality Netball Superleague as well.”

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