Many of the Exeter City squad this season have either played their football locally or been a part of the development programme at Exeter College, one who has a slightly different story to tell is Phoebe Durkin.
Phoebe is currently on a placement year in the south west, working as an Analyst for the Exeter City Academy, her route to the Exeter City squad stemming from an article seen over the summer. “I moved down for my placement and saw the trials being advertised. I didn’t know anyone at the club but I wanted to continue playing football while working so gave it a shot.”
Studying at Loughborough University, Phoebe has been playing for their team recently, but her football journey has already been a varied one. At a young age she played for the junior sides at Brighouse in West Yorkshire, moving briefly into the senior set up with Brighouse Town. From there Phoebe played more of her pre University football with the development teams at Middlesbrough. “I played for the reserve and development teams at Middlesbrough but when I moved to Loughborough the distance was too far to travel.”
After a successful trial at City, Phoebe was welcomed in to the first team set up. The season may have been stop start but not without successes. “Playing for both the development team and first team has helped me settle in. The Development team really helped me to get my confidence up and made me feel like I was part of a team, whereas the first team has pushed me to be a better player.”
Away from football and a considerable way from home, it has been all work. “With no family or friends down here I have found it easiest to get my head down and work, football is good to get me away from my desk. I just love being around football so it is making my year a good one.”
Whilst working with the Academy at Exeter City and playing for the Women’s team keeps Phoebe busy, her love of the north is still strong. “Being Yorkshire-born, I will always say the North is the best place to be, but being this far south has not been as bad as I thought.” One thing that does continue to burn bright is a love for Huddersfield Town. Carlos Corberan is taking a different approach to the management team before him and for as a budding football analyst and Town fanatic, Phoebe is well placed to access his start. “I’m enjoying watching Town play, to try and pass it around and I like that he is trying to get more Academy products in to the first team. I can’t wait to get back into stadiums so I can watch in person.”
Phoebe’s stay with the squad may turn out to be a brief one, but with a desire to improve and gain more game time as the season progresses, there is every reason to suggest it will be a successful one. With her placement already seeing a National Trophy for the Academy Team, hopefully a highly successful second half to the season personally will mean that Phoebe looks back on her time in Devon with fondness.