Busy times for Frances So­lia


A new national coach­ing gig, new gym and the abil­ity to bake a cake - these are busy times for Frances So­lia.

The for­mer Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic and Cen­tral Pulse net­baller re­cently bought the for­mer Con­fig­ure women’s gym in Paru­moana St in Porirua.

Re­brand­ing it as The Club had taken some el­bow grease, but So­lia said it was all worth it.

‘‘Run­ning a gym has been some­thing I’ve wanted to do for some time,’’ she said.

‘‘I think the women’s-only en­vi­ron­ment is a niche one that has a lot of life in it be­cause peo­ple feel safe.’’

‘‘We’re tak­ing small steps, but ex­pand­ing into space next door to us hap­pens soon, so I’m pretty happy to get this place mov­ing ahead.’’

So­lia, a for­mer cap­tain of Samoa’s national net­ball side, was re­cently named as the coun­try’s coach. With el­i­gi­ble Samoan play­ers scat­tered in leagues around the world, her task of bring­ing a squad to­gether for a Pa­cific Na­tions tour­na­ment later this year could be viewed as a tough task. So­lia will take it in her stride. ‘‘It’s an op­por­tu­nity I couldn’t af­ford to let go and it’s a chal­lenge I can’t wait to get into.

‘‘It looks like we [Samoa] won’t be go­ing to the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2018, but I need to iden­tify tal­ent, eye­ing up the Pa­cific tour­na­ment this year and maybe the World Cup in 2019.’’

So­lia, who lives in Whitby with her hus­band, helps co-or­di­nate sport at Queen Mar­garet’s Col­lege.

She also coaches Welling­ton club PIC’s top net­ball side and has two young chil­dren to keep her busy.

‘‘I learnt to bake last year - I was mak­ing a cake a week but it got too ex­pen­sive.

‘‘Life is in­cred­i­bly busy but so are most peo­ple’s and what hav­ing kids has done has make us be more or­gan­ised in the other parts of our life, like work and sport.’’

So­lia, who will be 41 this year, still runs 10km, four nights a week, call­ing it ‘‘my time’’ at the end of an­other busy day.

‘‘I’m one of those peo­ple that needs to keep mov­ing.’’

She said she would watch with in­ter­est how the new sep­a­rate Aus­tralian and New Zealand net­ball com­pe­ti­tions play out, hop­ing a New Zealand-only league would ac­tu­ally serve to strengthen the game on this side of the Tas­man.


Frances So­lia, who owns a gym in Porirua and has been named as Samoa’s new national coach.

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