Press release: Football mums on the pitch, not the sidelines

It’s different for girls and to celebrate Mother’s Day Hull City Ladies FC want to highlight one of the major differences between the men’s and women’s game – motherhood.

Born and bred in East Hull, Ellice Jackman, 31 has played for Hull City Ladies FC since she was 17. Always a huge fan of football she gets pure enjoyment from the sport and says it’s had such a positive affect on her life.

Making the decision to have children is never to be taken lightly. But for women in football, it means taking time off not just post-natal, but both training and match days are on hold from the moment the test is positive.

For Ellice and partner Rob it was double joy with twins, one of each – Ronnie and Nellie. Following their birth in February 2022, Ellice had 14 weeks off to recover from a caesarean section, but after watching the game from the stands, she couldn’t wait to get back for pre-season training.

Fitness had played an important role to support a healthy pregnancy and with Rob having an online coaching business, it was reasonably easy to pick up where she let off just over a year before.

Any parent knows that the arrival of a newborn is exciting but exhausting. Ellice grabs the opportunity to sleep while the twins are snoozing. However, she feels fortunate to have a supportive partner who shares responsibility, as well as parents who are happy to baby-sit twins. After being at home with her babies during the day, Ellice then goes to training in the evenings.

Twenty years ago when Ellice started secondary school, the opportunities for girls in football were few and far between. After school she studied animal care at Wilberforce College and Animal Management at Bishop Burton College. She worked for Hull City Council, looking after the animals at East Park but in more recent years, Ellice worked as a chef for an East Hull assisted living facility. All the time playing for Hull City Ladies.

Growing up, she lacked confidence but she says: “The football pitch is where I can be myself. I feel really confident as it’s one thing I know I am good at.”

“With the new strategy in place, it’s clear that providing opportunities for girls coming into the sport is a top priority for Hull City Ladies FC. I’m happy to benefit from this and I’m excited about the Club’s ambitious plans. To be playing as part of the team in the Women’s Championship would be a dream come true, even if I’ve had another child between now and then. As long I can keep fit, there’s no reason why I can’t continue to play in my mid-thirties.”

Former England player, Ellen White announced her retirement followed by a baby announcement.

Ellice continues: “For me as a footballer, the best thing is team spirit. During my pregnancy I took to the stands with Rob but I missed playing so much. We have an amazing group of girls and I am so lucky to be part of that.

As one of the more senior players, Ellice plays in defence as Centre Half and takes her responsibility as a positive role model to the younger players very seriously.

“My other centre half Kahlen Watters in our last match against York City, is 18. She was a mascot when I first started. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in the game for all of this time.

“Our previous manager was really good but the Club is stepping up to the challenge and we are all motivated by the prospect of being in the Women’s Championship. Chris Hames has changed the team around quite a lot and brings new ideas to patterns of play, ways to improve our defence and team tactics. Everything feels different and we’re all really up for it.

“There is a new energy at the Club and we all look forward to training, the whole team is there on time for every session.”

As a parent, supportive team dynamics are priceless. Hope Knight is the only other player with children. She is the partner of Chris Hames the Club’s new Manager. Ellice and Hope had become great friends through football, but having babies has cemented their friendship, attending mum and baby classes together and checking in with questions about motherhood and parenting.

“Hope is one of my best friends. It’s great to have her around. Her partner (our manager) Chris is also a great friend. He totally understands what it’s like to be a new parent and play football at the same time.”

Ellice wants to see more support from men’s football for it to be taken more seriously.

Recently, the Chair of Hull City’s men’s team Acun Ilicali said of an affiliation with a women’s team: “If the fans want it, we’ll do it.”

Director of Football and First Team Manager at Hull City Ladies, Chris Hames says: “We aim to provide the biggest and best opportunity for girls and women to play football at the highest possible level in this region. Men’s football has a responsibility to support that. We’re beyond being grateful for being able to play, it’s time for the game to step up and give something back.”


For more information about this press release, please contact Jess Clark, 07722 299461 or email

Chris Hames’ qualifications include: UEFA B Licence, FA Youth Award, MSc Psychology, PGCE Further Education, BA Hons History, Sport England Talent ID, First Aid, Safeguarding.

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*Photo by Kevin Greene