The Netball Players Association (NPA) are delighted to announce the appointment of Sophia Candappa as Chair, and Stacey Francis as Vice-Chair of the Players Committee. They will play a key leadership role working alongside the Player Representatives and Player Development Manager to strengthen the players voice on the NPA Board as both will sit on the Board as part of their roles.
Sophia Candappa recently stepped down from her previous role with the NPA of Player Liaison Officer to pursue her teaching career at Wellington College as Head of Psychology and Assistant Director of Sport, while also returning to play Superleague Netball following the birth of her first child. This role gives Sophia the opportunity to use her working knowledge of the NPA alongside her connection to players to enhance the Board and ensure the players voice is at the heart of decision making.
Sophia began her playing career at Loughborough Lightning while she was a student there, before moving to Hertfordshire Mavericks (now Saracens Mavericks), then played for Surrey Storm and most recently Wasps Netball. Sophia has seven caps for England and is a proud NSL Champion in three back to back seasons from 2016-2017. Her playing experience across club and country and holding leadership roles makes her an excellent team player to have within the NPA.
Sophia Candappa “I am thrilled to continue my work with the NPA and I am really looking forward to working with the player reps and development manager more closely. The players voice is an integral part of developing and strengthening our sport, so it is great to be on board in this new role”
Stacey Francis will bring her experience of playing abroad to the role as she currently participates in the Australian Suncorp Super Netball League for West Coast Fever, having previously played in the Superleague for Team Bath for 10 years, spent one year in New Zealand playing for the Canterbury Tactix in the former ANZ Championships and one season with the Yorkshire Jets in the UK’s NSL. Having won five Superleague titles with Bath and being inducted into the Team Bath Hall of Fame in 2017, her connection to Superleague Netball is still very strong. Stacey has played for England on 73 occasions including two Commonwealth Games and two World Cups, returning with three bronze medals.
Stacey’s appointment connects the English players playing in Australia to the UK NPA and as a member of the Australian Netball Players Association, she will bring knowledge and understanding of practices from an established netball players association.
Stacey Francis "I am incredibly excited to have been appointed as vice chair of the NPA. It is an exciting time to be a netballer in the UK and the players have a key role in taking ownership and the initiative to drive our game to become more professional and sustainable. I look forward to bringing my experience and ideas and advocating for purposeful change for the playing group."
Liz Bloor, Managing Director of the NPA is “thrilled to have Sophia and Stacey as our first Chair and Vice Chair. Having worked with both players in the past, I know their passion for the game and willingness to speak up for what they believe in. They will both be a huge asset to the Board and Players Committee, and we can’t wait for them to get started. This move will bring players closer to decision making and influencing the direction of the NPA.”