Since her arrival in the summer, Abi Todd has hit the ground running. An incredible 12 goals in 11 appearances puts her at the top of our goal scoring charts alongside Georgia Vandries, and we spoke to one of our new arrivals about her journey and her time at Rovers so far.
Abi, this is the first time that we've properly spoken to you since you've arrived. Have you enjoyed being a 'Gas Girl'?
Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed being a ‘Gas Girl’. It’s been even better than I had expected and anticipated. I knew that it was potentially going to be a big jump, but I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of getting into the team and playing with the girls who are all fantastic players and fantastic people which has made the transition so much easier for me. So yeah, it’s been really enjoyable.
You've certainly hit the ground running with a superb 11 goals in 12 appearances, in all competitions. Were you expecting to find your feet so quickly?
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to have found my feet that quickly. I wasn’t expecting to score as many goals as I have which is a pleasant surprise. I think I expected to be creating a lot of chances, usually I see myself as more of a creator of chances rather than a finisher, but I’m really glad to have scored as many goals as I have because it’s just so good for my confidence. I think it’s helped that I’ve gelled with the team so well and as we’ve played so well together, the girls are starting to understand what they expect from me now and I think that’s really helped me personally. And that’s maybe why I’ve managed to score as many as I have.
Winding the clock back, what made you fall in love with the beautiful game?
Oh Gosh, Okay! Looking back, I started when I was really young. I must have been about five or six in the garden and I was just playing against my brothers, showing them how it’s done 😊 and to be honest I just loved it. When I started playing at youth level with the boys, a lot of the time I’d try and take them all on, because I just loved running with the ball on my feet. Now of course I try to be more of a team player but when I was 7 or 8 I just wanted to run with the ball and I didn’t really care. It was just so much fun I never really lost that. Enjoyment has always been key for me.
You've recently returned to Bristol after a number of years at Loughborough University, which has a fantastic reputation in women’s football. What did you study and what how much did you learn as a player in that setup?
Yeah, so I was at Loughborough University studying maths and sports science, which was really cool. As a player I really enjoyed my three years there, playing against other universities, having good cup runs and progressing well in the league. The main thing I learnt is how important it is to have strong squad that you can rely on. I was usually starting the majority of games but it was so important for someone to come on and have an impact on the game. I also feel as though I learnt a lot about my game and how to be more effective on the ball. Probably because when I was younger I’d try to do skills for no reason but now I try to be more effective with the ball and not to waste more energy trying to beat then air. But that’s where I feel as though I’ve improved.
The Gas Girls are very active in the community. Was this something that was appealing to you when deciding to sign for us this summer?
Seeing how active the ‘Gas Girls’ are in the community, definitely made the club more appealing to me. Living in North Bristol myself, Rovers is the local team in my area and that in combination to what the club does for the community, certainly demonstrated that it’s a club with good values and morals to be a part of. The ‘Gas Girls’ have done some amazing work, especially in women’s football which I think has been really positive for the community and it’s something that I’m proud to be a part of.
As we hit the Christmas break and look back at the first half of the season, there have been a few tough games to negotiate but we've certainly started to hit a great run of form. What are your thoughts on the season so far?
Yeah, we have struggled on occasions and I think there’s a lot of factors that come into play with that but we really hit our stride with two massive wins against the title challengers (Forest Green Rovers and Sherborne Town) But to be honest, the way that we train together and how hard we work as a team, I think we we'll continue to improve. I think the squad is fantastic. Nathan (Hallett-Young) said it himself that he’s really happy with the squad and how well we work together. Every member of the squad is valuable, whether they’re starting, finishing or not included in the squad that week. Everyone really does have a part to play. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of potential in this squad and going forward we’ve improved our run of results. Sometimes our performances have deserved more in terms of points and goals but as long as we keep working hard the results will continue to come. It's our first season in this league and we're certainly competing at the top, so we've got to be pleased overall.