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Women's football review: Katie Holtham on Notts County, Adelaide Reds and Nottingham Forest

Tim Grainey chats with Katie Holtham about her move from Notts County to the Adelaide Reds - and her role with Nottingham Forest.

  Katie Holtham is a vastly experienced English defender who left Notts County this season - once they were assured of FA WSL 1 play in 2015 - for Adelaide Reds in Australia's Westfield W-League.

Holtham has previously played for Doncaster and Chelsea in FA WSL.

She explained that playing in Australia allows her to play continually while still providing some options for 2015 in Europe: "As a professional, you want to play as much as possible. I came to Adelaide to continue playing overseas; the W-League is getting stronger each year and is now really competitive. I heard a lot of good things about Ross Aloisi [a former Australian international midfielder from Adelaide who played in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Austria, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand and at home] and what he achieved last season and how he is as a coach. I wanted to work under him and develop myself as a player and be ready to play in England or elsewhere."

Holtham has found that the W-League is more technical - "teams want to play football" - than the game is in England, where it is more physical.

She added another plus: "The ability to travel around Australia is a dream come true."

She joked that, by playing consecutive summer seasons: "Its perfect timing because I avoid the cold winter in England."

Adelaide Reds - who have never made the playoffs in seven W-League seasons - has started out this season with five consecutive losses.

Holtham explains that: "Being such a short season [12 regular season games] you have to find your form quite quickly or you get found out."

Adelaide has long-time Australian international goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, former English international forward Kristy Moore, Norwegian international Lisa-Marie Woods and new signing Danish international midfielder Katrine Pedersen, so look to them to improve over the course of the season.

In England, Holtham combines playing in FA WSL with a full time career as a Physical Therapist with Nottingham Forest, looking after the men's academy sides (U-18 to U-21).

She took an unpaid, three month leave from Forest to play in Australia. She has an option to come back to Notts County for 2015 and Forest and County have both been fully supportive of her work and playing endeavors.

"Balancing full-time work and playing top level football proved difficult at times. I've been really luck in that respect to balance my work career alongside my footballing career, which obviously in the women's game can be difficult; when you have opportunities that come up, it's good that you have good people around you to support that.

"We're not there yet where we can completely [depend on] a career in football."

She hopes to finalize her plans by Christmas time and will talk to her coaches at Notts County, led by head coach Rick Passmoor. She is also exploring options overseas and is interested in playing perhaps in Norway or Denmark, but did not rule out returning to America.

She won a W-League title in 2010 with the Buffalo (now Western New York) Flash under native New Zealander head coach Aaron Lines. Lines led the Flash to three consecutive titles in four seasons (W-League, WPS, WPSL-Elite) and finished second in the first NWSL season in 2013.

She explained that: "For my Physical Therapy career, I can go back to [it] any time but in football there is only so long you can play for, so I am just taking each opportunity as it comes, really."

Katie Holtham is an example of a top-level women's player who is able to combine playing throughout the year in a multiple years with a full-time career. We are starting to see more players loaned to other leagues so they can play throughout a calendar year (i.e. Wales' Jess Fishlock and Spain's Vero Boquette from NWSL to Frankfurt), over a dozen Americans combining NWSL and W-League play in Australia, and Australian internationals playing at home and in Japan or the U.S.

Adding on a full-time job is a tremendous additional burden, but one in which Katie Holtham has handled with aplomb.

 Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

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