SOPHIA Candappa is relishing the chance to dive head-first into a full Vitality Netball Superleague season for the first time since becoming a mother.
The 28-year-old gave birth to her first child, Otis, in September 2019 and was appointed Wasps captain a year later after returning to the court.
Now it’s all systems go for a complete Superleague campaign for the centre and wing attack, keen to show how motherhood isn’t a barrier for athletes competing in elite sport.
“Being a mum and playing top-level sport, and doing that with some amazing role models out there in the league who have done it before and are still doing it, is really inspirational,” said Candappa, who is in her fifth season with Wasps.
“I’m a big advocate of promoting females to realise they can play at that top level and be a mother.
“Just because you have a child doesn’t mean you should step back from that passion.
“I think it’s been really lovely as a community to share the journeys that we are going through and that there are tough times and to know that we’re all in it together.
“I have to say my Wasps family, the support they have given me has been incredible. My teammates and the management have all been really understanding and supportive.
“Without that I think I would find it more difficult, so I’m really grateful to them.”
Getting under way this Friday, the journey to a new Vitality Netball Superleague season was far from easy but the league is set to be more inspired, competitive and resilient than ever before.
With big name international players joining exciting homegrown talent, all 11 clubs are ready to drive the game forward together to help the sport and the league Rise. As One.
Candappa has three Superleague titles to her name, victorious with Surrey Storm in 2016 and claiming back-to-back championships with Wasps in 2017 and 2018.
Creating a culture where all voices are heard is important for the Wasps captain, who harbours big aspirations when it comes to final results.
“A big thing for me as captain is it’s not just down to me to lead the team,” she explained. “I really want to create a culture where every player feels they can lead the team in their own unique way and that they have a responsibility to do that, for us to be the best that we possibly can be.
“Wasps’ ambitions are to win back the trophy – that’s the biggest thing for us. We made the final in 2019 and lost to a really strong Manchester Thunder side but we are ready to win that title back.
“The main aim for us is to make the semi-finals, make that top four and we’re going to do everything in our power to do that and enjoy it along the way.”
All matches will be shown live on Sky Sports for the first time and Candappa believes the visibility is vital, not just for the netball community but for sports fans as a whole.
She added: “It is absolutely incredible to have every single game shown on Sky Sports, I’m so excited. It’s such a big step for our game, that visibility is so important.
“There’s the Rise. As One campaign and we really want to rise together with all the fans so for them to be able to see it at home to showcase our sport and drive our sport forward.
“It’s not just for the netball fans out there but for just general sport loving people to see the game, see the intensity of the game and see how exciting it is and to get a bigger following and more support out there for the game of netball.”
The Vitality Netball Superleague will return on 12 February 2021 and you can follow the action with all games being shown live on Sky Sports. Visit netballsl.com or follow @netballsl on Twitter and Instagram for more information.