Women’s football has come a long way since the ladies World Cup 4 years ago. The talent has gotten stronger due to some players turning professional with the help of financial backing (that means more time to train, better reasons to compete and more exposure). Even though it has a long way to go before it’s seen as equal to that of the men’s game, it’s still a fantastic game to watch and plenty of female players are becoming well-known in the football industry.
With the Women’s FA Cup Final on its way this August at Wembley, and the World Cup taking place this summer, we caught up with Chelsea Ladies defender, Gilly Flaherty.
You’re off to Wembley in a few weeks to play against Notts County Ladies in the FA Cup Final. You must be excited? Yeah, I think for any player in the men’s or the women’s side, everyone talks about Wembley and how it’s a massive occasion. Obviously then to combine it with the FA Cup, which in this country is one of the best cups to play in… I’ve won it several times before and it means so much, so to be able to combine the two together and probably play at Wembley when not many people would ever have thought we’d be able to experience it, it will be an amazing occasion for everyone. At the end of the day though, I’m a winner so I want to go there and win. I don’t want to go there and come away with a bad memory, I want to go there and enjoy it – but remember we’re there to do a job and win the FA Cup.
My dad was a massive inspiration when I was younger. He used to be a footballer and he talked about football non-stop and it would always be on the telly, but it wasn’t till I was about 9 that I said I wanted to play football
If you were to win the FA Cup this season you’d be the first Chelsea women’s team to win the cup and the first team to win the cup at Wembley… Any nerves? Not really, I mean I’ll be nervous on the day but more so as in I love these sorts of occasions. I love the high-pressure game and it’s a new time for Chelsea. Obviously last year we came so close, but I think right now it’s a new time at the club and an exciting time to be a part of it as well. It will be the first silverware Chelsea win and that’s what we want to do, we want to go out and break records, make history and bring silverware to this club because that’s why I signed for this team. It’s a massive thing to be playing at Wembley, but I think for us we have to remain professional. We’re not there yet and we have to go and do a job and make sure we don’t come so close again, but yet so far away.
On a more personal note, what helped you decide to get into football yourself? My dad was a massive inspiration when I was younger. He used to be a footballer and he talked about football non-stop and it would always be on the telly, but it wasn’t till I was about 9 that I said I wanted to play football. I wanted my dad to teach me how to play and he literally made me go outside every night after school and practice holding a ball on my right foot and left foot before he said he would teach me anything because I think he wanted to see how serious I was about it. After about four weeks of going out every night after school, I came back in and I could hold it so then we would go out to the park and practice kicking and heading the ball and everything like that. I went for trials with Millwall when I was 9 and I haven’t really looked back since. I didn’t know anything about football – I didn’t know about the rules, I didn’t know about how to play in a team, I knew nothing – I just knew that I wanted to play football. I was determined to do what I needed to do and learn what I needed to learn in order to [succeed] and that’s it really.
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Words copyright VanityHype 2015