Women. Jas' journey: How McQuade followed in family footsteps

Jasmine McQuade
01 Jun 24

Her father was a professional footballer who played more than 300 times in the Scottish Football League, and now Jasmine McQuade is following in his footsteps with Newcastle United Women

The midfielder's dad, John, has been a big influence on her burgeoning career - as has her mother, Melanie, who is a regular at the Lasses' matches - with McQuade now looking forward to playing in the Women's Championship next season after the Magpies won the FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division title this term.

A skilful and flamboyant player on the pitch, McQuade is far more conservative and shy off it as she lets her feet do the talking - and they did plenty of that this season as the development team's 2022/23 Players' Player of the Season stepped up to the first team and ended the campaign with 12 goals to her name.

It's been a meteoric rise for McQuade, who took time out of football to study at the University of Manchester, only to realise how key the sport was in her life and has now become a regular under Becky Langley - something which has pleased John, himself a midfielder with an eye for goal.

"My dad has been with me in every single thing I've done with football," the ex-England youth international told newcastleunited.com. "He played for a few teams in Scotland such as Hamilton, Dumbarton as well as Port Vale back in England.

"He told me that he never wanted to say anything to me while I was at university about dropping out to come back and play football, but ever since then and when I've been playing this season all he's been saying is how happy he is that I've come back to football."

If it wasn't for a lack of numbers at her primary school, St. Joseph's Primary School in Murton, United's number 21 may never have started playing at all.

"There was a tournament at my school and because we had such a small year group, I was forced to play and just make up the numbers," McQuade recalled.

"I ended up enjoying it and been obsessed with football ever since. I was a little bit nervous to play but to be honest, I was always a bit of a tomboy when I was younger.

"My dad helped me and told me what to do. All the way through secondary school it was just about playing football for fun because I wanted to go to university and play football on the side of having another job.

"Initially, I was supposed to go and sign for Burnley Women which would have coincided with me being at uni," McQuade added. "But it would have been an hour's drive for night-time training sessions and I wasn't able to do it in alongside my studies.

"I decided to take some time out of football and hopefully jump back in once I managed to get my degree. However, as time went by at university, I realised that wasn't going to be possible.

"So halfway through my course I decided that at my current age I was developing as a player and I could always come back to uni if I wanted to, so I came home and signed for Newcastle."

McQuade, who despite the way she carries herself on the pitch admits she was shy when first joining the Magpies, had already played senior football for Middlesbrough Women, but initially linked up with United's development team. Although slightly more experienced than some of her team-mates, she thrived with the help of best friend Grace Boyes.

"When I moved back up here from university I was finding it hard to readjust and I knew Grace had just signed and was hyping up how high the standards were and (I thought) if I know someone at the club - especially my best friend - then it would make joining a lot easier," she explained.

"I had a season to be with the development team and that set me up to push on full-time with the first team. I can always go back to uni but I can never go back to being young and fit.

"I just wanted to be a leader in the group because I was older than a lot of the girls. So, to then get Players' Player of the Year goes to show I did have a big impact on the younger girls and they looked up to me.

"A lot of the players would look up to me and just be asking daft questions about where they should be standing on the pitch and it was nice because when I first arrived I didn't know anyone, so even though they were younger than me I was still a bit shy."

After picking up the Players' Player of the Season award, McQuade was handed the chance to impress Langley in pre-season with a surprise call-up to start in a friendly against Hibernian Women and she's never looked back since.

Having played out wide for a lot of her career - and catching the eye of international scouts in that position - Langley allowed McQuade to flourish in her preferred number ten role, and now it's difficult for fans to imagine her playing anywhere else.

"The pressure was taken off of me against Hibernian because I wasn't supposed to start - I just had to fill in for someone," McQuade revealed.

"It was the first time I had played in my best position of a number ten so I was enjoying it. I've always loved playing as a number ten but the teams I've played for have always had someone older than me in that position so I've always been pushed out wide.

"When I got scouted for England I was playing as a winger so I tried to mould into a winger but I prefer being in the number ten."

McQuade has now become accustomed to playing in front of thousands at Kingston Park and St. James' Park, but the 21-year-old said: "When I was playing at Middlesbrough I'd have never imagined that I'd be playing at a men's stadium, never mind attracting as many fans as we have done at Newcastle.

"When I first joined the Devs, I think within my first week we were told that we had to go watch the first team - which was at St. James' Park - and I imagined being on the pitch.

"The next time I was allowed to warm up before the game but wasn't in the squad, then I was named on the bench and finally I got to start. It was certainly a long time coming, but something I never even expected to happen within a year."

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