UPPAbaby Brand Ambassador - Joy Neville

Sep 8, 2022

UPPAbaby is all about family, so when we are choosing our brand ambassadors, it's important that their values align with ours.

Joy Neville

Joy and her partner Simona have a gorgeous baby boy named Alfie. Joy is a former Ireland women's rugby international player, and is now a rugby union referee. She represented Ireland internationally and captained the first Ireland team to defeat France.

Joy retired from being a rugby player and became a referee. Since then, she has procured an impressive collection of games she has taken charge of, including the Women's Six Nations Championship, and the Women's Rugby World Cup, including the final in 2017.

Joy is the first woman to referee matches in the national leagues of Ireland, Wales and Italy. She also was the first woman to take charge of a top-level men's rugby union match in the United Kingdom and was named the World Rugby referee of the year in 2017! Needless to say, Joy's professional achievements are extremely impressive. 

So how does she manage it all with baby Alfie? We've asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

  • You have had an amazing career playing and captaining Ireland and achieving some real career highs. We are hearing a lot about women's participations levels in team sports falling off. Is there anything you would say to teenage girls to encourage them to continue participating in their chosen sport?
DO IT!! There are just so many perks to being involved in team sports and taking part in sport. It is a wonderful social outlet, helps increase fitness and definitely aids with our mental health but most importantly, sport teaches us how to deal with the tough times, learn from the experiences, grow friendships and provides us with wonderful tools that can be transferred into our personal lives. I would not be the person I am to this day if I had not got involved in sport, but particularly rugby. I have made lifelong friendships, learned the biggest life lessons and have been provided with such wonderful opportunities because of the game of Rugby.
  • You've achieved so many firsts in your career as a female referee in women's & men's rugby. What do you consider the highlight so far?
Two answers - As a player - Winning the Grandslam in 2013 – I will never forget that moment/day. We had worked so hard to get to that point. So many knocks throughout the years which built our resilience collectively to demand more and strive to be better which lead to that moment. I am a true believer that every cloud has a silver lining!
As a referee - So many to mention but on top of the list would include refereeing the Women's World Cup Final. As a player we worked so hard to reach the final which we never achieved. It was extra special to get there as a referee and a massive honour to referee in that tournament on home soil. Another extremely special moment in my career was refereeing my first Pro14 game (Ulster V Southern Kings). It was even more special as the first Women to referee in that Men's professional competition.
  • Your job entails lots of travel and weekend work. How do you manage that now with Alfie?
Time management is so important. Ensuring that we are as organised as possible and ensuring that we make the most of the time that we have together when I am at home. Be present when at home and not elsewhere - on a phone etc!! So many of us can be present at home but not present in mind and I think I have learned the importance of being present at all times especially when I am abroad so much.
  • Which UPPAbaby stroller is your favourite and what do you like the most about it?
Love, love, love the UPPAbaby all-terrain RIDGE. It's perfect for our needs. Alfie seems extremely comfortable in this stroller as it allows him be upright and he gets to see what is going on around him. The suspension system is excellent and most importantly, it is so easy to jog with. I love the fact that there is a large water bottle holder which helps when one is gassed ;).
  • What is your number one UPPAbaby accessory that you could not be without?
I have a few but it has to be the comfy, warm and cosy Uppababy Vista Ganoosh Footmuff in the colour Jake, which matches our VISTA perfectly.

We are so excited to have Joy be a part of our UPPAbaby family, she's the perfect fit!