Spartans midfielder Tegan Reynolds on her football journey, 'best decision', injuries, being semi-pro and 100 games
After a stop-start season disrupted by injury, Spartans midfielder Tegan Reynolds hopes the summer break, a personal milestone and a new job will bring her back refreshed and ready for an exciting new era of SWPL football next term.
The 22-year-old from Wester Hailes would probably have made her 100th appearance for the club long before she did in the second last game of the season had it not been for a niggling ankle injury that dogged her all season.
It came when she twisted it in a 50-50 challenge at the start of the campaign. She never made a full recovery.
“It didn’t really heal properly and then I hurt it again just before Christmas,” Reynolds explains. “I tried to have rehab and to get into the team, so it’s been hard. I was in and out. Also, we have a good squad, so anybody on the bench can start and we still compete.”
Despite her injury frustration, Reynolds can reflect on a productive 12 months on and off the pitch. She graduated with a sport and recreational management degree from Edinburgh University last year. She has now completed her first season as a semi-professional at Spartans. And she recently started a new full-time job at GSI Events.
Her milestone 100th appearance for Spartans has given Reynolds reason to pause and reflect on her decision seven years ago to join the north Edinburgh club at the age of 15.
The former Wester Hailes High School pupil started football as an eight-year-old at Hibs Girls. She took a break at the age of 12 before joining Hutchison Vale Girls a year later.
“The team disbanded when we reached under-15s, so I was looking for another club,” Reynolds recalls.
“Spartans were another Edinburgh-based club, so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made because all my friends have been made through football and Spartans have given me so many opportunities.”
That includes a training camp with Scotland under-19s and playing for Scottish Universities. “It all stemmed from coming here,” she says. “I came through the player pathway system and it just shows that if you're given the chance you can take it and reach a milesone.”
Reynolds spent two seasons at Spartans Under-17s before then manager Suzy Shepherd promoted her to the first-team squad. She made her debut at 16 and has come on leaps and bounds ever since. The club and the women’s game in Scotland has been progressing just as quickly.
“It changed massively,” she says. “When I started at 16, there weren’t any semi-professional teams in the SWPL. In the last four or five years the progression has been unbelievable.
“To think that we now have semi-professional status is mind-blowing. When I made my debut I would never have thought that.”
Becoming semi-pro last summer helped Spartans keep up in what is an increasingly competitive league, finishing sixth in the 10-team table. With the SPFL taking over the league next season, it is an exciting time to be involved.
“We had to make those steps to compete,” Reynolds adds. “Next season I hope we keep progressing. Sometimes we have put in good performances, but did not get the result. Hopefully next season we can get that extra push.”
Rest her ankle and return for the new campaign without having to strap it up again, and Reynolds could provide the extra push that Spartans need.