Latest news from Loughborough University

29 Sep 2015

England star Jade Clarke returns to Loughborough Lightning

Loughborough Lightning is delighted to welcome home Jade Clarke after five years playing netball in the Southern Hemisphere.

A world class mid-court player who was one of England’s stars at this summer’s Netball World Cup, Clarke played for Loughborough Lightning for the best part of a decade whilst studying at Loughborough University. Graduating in 2006 with a 2.1 in Sport & Exercise Science, Clarke was a model student-athlete and benefited from the support of a sports scholarship and a flexible degree programme.

Flourishing during her time at Lightning where she was eventually made captain, Clarke went on to play in the ANZ Championship in New Zealand, first for Waikato Magic before spells at Northern Mystics and Canterbury Tactix. Next came a season in Australia with NSW Swifts before deciding to return to the place where her dazzling career really took off.

With 123 International caps to her name, Clarke has an abundance of experience, which includes four Netball World Cups and three Commonwealth Games. Team England captain at Glasgow 2014, there is no doubt Clarke will be a great leader for a young Lightning team, both on and off the court.

In fact the 31 year old actually succeeded her new coach, taking over the role of England captain when Atkinson retired in 2011. Alongside Atkinson, Clarke won bronze at two Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Netball World Cup, before securing another bronze at the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia.

Of her homecoming, Clarke said:

“After six years I'm so happy to make my return to the Loughborough Lightning family. Karen Atkinson and Olivia Murphy have inspired me as teammates and captains, and I know they will do so again as coaches.

“Lightning has a base of up and coming young players, a brilliant coup in New Zealander Jo Trip, and I believe I can bring international experience to the mid court. We’ve lots of hard work ahead of us but I know there are some exciting times ahead.”

Commenting on her latest signing Karen Atkinson said:

“We are unbelievably excited to welcome Jade back to Loughborough Lightning.  She is a world-class player who leads by example and who is always trying to improve and get the best out of herself.  Not only will she bring undoubted quality to our mid-court, she is also the type of player that can bring the best out of those around her.  She is a true leader both on and off the court.  Welcome back Jade!”

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 15/184

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

Contact for all media enquiries

Pete Matthews
PR Officer for Sport
Loughborough University
01509 228686