New gym and netball coaching role for Central Pulse's Frances Solia

Frances Solia playing for Wellington in 2011.
CHRIS SKELTON

Frances Solia playing for Wellington in 2011.

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.

Frances Solia in action during the ANZ Championship for Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in 2010.
MICHAEL BRADLEY

Frances Solia in action during the ANZ Championship for Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in 2010.

"Running a gym has been something I've wanted to do for some time and I think the women's-only environment is a niche one that has a lot of life in it because people feel safe," she said.

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"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.

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

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

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

 - Stuff

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