Wasps Netball vice-captain Sophia Candappa has announced that she is set to become a mum later this year.
The 26-year-old mid-court star and her partner, Murray, are expecting their first child in September 2019.
The impending arrival will see Candappa hang up her dress for the rest of the season, but she will remain with the team in an off-court leadership role.
Mel Mansfield, Wasps Netball Head Coach, said: “Sophia is a fantastic athlete and person and I know will make a wonderful mother. We are delighted for her and are all supporting her through her first pregnancy.
“Whilst Sophia won’t be playing for the rest of the season, she is a leader on and off the court and her continued presence in the squad will be invaluable.”
Candappa joined Wasps ahead of their inaugural Vitality Netball Superleague season in 2017 and has been vice-captain from day one.
Planning to return to the sport after her pregnancy, Candappa wants to show that sportswomen can become mothers and still play at the highest level.
She said: “I’ve stopped playing netball now but I’ll still be attending all the training sessions and games to support the squad at Wasps for the rest of the season.
“I’ll be part of the leadership team and helping to influence from off the court. It’s my every intention to do everything I can from that perspective.
“I feel very strongly about returning and being at my best, I’ve always been very passionate that women in professional sport should be able to return at the top level after pregnancy.
“My teammates are all really pleased for me but of course there was an element of surprise! It was special to share the moment with them.
“Wasps have been brilliant. It’s always a bit daunting announcing something like this but Mel Mansfield, Sarah Taylor and our physio Andrew Holbrook have been really supportive and are pleased for me and Murray.”