Former West Ham Ladies’ captain Stacey Little has signed up for our annual Football to Amsterdam bike ride. We met up with her to talk about her love of the beautiful game and why she’s backing Men United this summer.
Usually booking a weekend away to Amsterdam entails a European adventure – time to relax in coffee shops, enjoy tolerant customs and soak up a diverse culture. But for former West Ham Ladies player Stacey Little and 500 other football-mad fans, players and staff, the journey from England to the Dutch capital is an adventure in itself.
Come this June, 28-year-old Stacey will embark on a two-day 145-mile bike-ride alongside teams from across the football fraternity.
And the reason for swapping her football boots for a cycling jersey? Well, the prospect of a great night in Dam Square certainly helped make the decision. But Stacey and the rest of the peloton have another goal in mind: to support Prostate Cancer UK and beat a disease that affects 1 in 8 men.
I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity to do this bike ride for a purpose and good cause.
Since signing for Men United, the former QPR, Charlton and West Ham player has already started her JustGiving fundraising page and has had a fantastic response from friends, family and beyond.
"You don’t realise how many people it’s actually affected," said Stacey. "Someone sponsored me recently saying they’d been clear of prostate cancer for three years now. I think we’re just not aware of how common it is and I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity to do this bike ride for a purpose and good cause.
"I’ve had so much support, including from family and friends, as well as people who’ve been personally affected by the disease. I’ve already raised over £1,000 just within a couple of months of fundraising."
Stacey’s dad, Dave, is one of her biggest supporters and has been a huge influence in her life, particularly when it comes to football. From taking her to games when she was a young girl to managing her in her teenage years and supporting her through the transfer from West Ham to C&K Basildon Ladies, he has been there through the highs and lows. Stacey is certainly going to make sure her dad knows the score, and not just when she’s playing during her journey with Men United.
The C&K Basildon Ladies midfielder hopes completing the 145-mile pedal-pilgrimage will be a memorable achievement this summer as well as a great way to support the men in her life. And she'll be riding alongside friend and former sponsor Richard Tyne, the Daggers’ Community Trust Manager, who’s heading up the team from Dagenham and Redbridge.
They’ll be holding a variety of fundraising events to reach their individual targets of £1,000 and Stacey will also be writing a blog to keep track of her progress over the coming weeks.
Want to join Stacey and the 500-strong peloton? Find out more here