Shona McCallin, began playing hockey at the age of six and has since found herself on a rapid ascent through the ranks of elite international players. In 2007 and a year early, McCallin made her International debut on England’s U16 squad, in what would be the first of a remarkable 85 junior international caps.
As an extremely active child, Shona was introduced to hockey at a young age by her Mum, as a means to expel some energy. She joined the junior section at Newark HC, where her sister played too. Shona credits Newark HC head coach Christine Fergusson MBE with teaching her so much during those early formative years.
By the age of 14, having participated in multiple sports throughout her childhood, Shona made the decision to focus on hockey, rather than football, as her evolution as a player began to advance. Looking back, she feels certain that her multi-sport involvement was a great benefit to her growth as an athlete, both physically and mentally.
At 15, with an eye squarely on the sport she loved most, the acceleration up the International hockey ladder was almost immediate. From the English U16's, U18's and, ultimately, as the captain of the England and GB U21’s, Shona developed a reputation for being a driving force in the midfield. Scoring 13 goals and multiple medals along the way, Shona's success included leading England to its highest-ever finish at the Junior World Cup in 2013. Simultaneously, she attended Tilburg University and trained in Holland at MOP HC under the leadership of coach Toon Siepman. It was during this time that Shona honed her game among the world's best, evolving into the player that she is today.
Shona has now blossomed into a senior level international. She lives and trains full-time with the English national team just outside of London. She achieved her 50th combined international appearance for Great Britain and England during the Rio Olympic Final, a historic night for Great Britain Hockey. The team created history and won Great Britains first ever Olympic Gold medal in womens hockey with over 9 million people watching on BBC 1.
Shona joined the Inspire+ Ambassador team at the start of 2017 and is currently undertaking a tour of all Inspire+ schools. At each school she gives a short assembly telling her story of from local girl (Long Bennington Primary & KGGS Secondary) to Olympic Gold and how she is just a local girl who through hard work and determination has achieved her goal! Shona closes each assembly with the challenge to the children of, could one of them bring the next gold medal back to Lincolnshire! And of course the children get to see Shona’s Gold Medal.
Find out more about Shona and read her regular blogs at www.shonamccallin.com