For a girl who’s never voted it’s ironic that politics played a part in my introduction to football. My primary school in Coatbridge in Scotland had a ‘no girls’ playing policy for their football teams and my mum wrote a letter of complaint to the head teacher, who as it turned out was unaware of this discrimination. Happily this situation was rectified and I was allowed to play.
Playing for the school team was not enough though and at the age of 7, I joined my local boys team Langloan. Once again politics played its part. After 6 years of playing with the same team, I was told I could no longer play in a boys’ team and it was with a heavy heart I left to join Cumbernauld Cosmos.
At Cosmos I couldn’t believe there were actually girls who could play football like me and for the next 4 years I not only helped the team to be successful on the park, but also made lifelong friends off it. We would go everywhere together and probably did bag-packing at every store in the west of Scotland to raise funds for strips, training kit etc.
In 2004, the set up meant that yet again I had to make the move into the unknown – this time in to women’s football and I joined Glasgow City Ladies FC as an under 17 Scottish internationalist. In my time at City I have been fortunate to play with some of the best players in the country and have enjoyed much success.
In fact I’m just grabbing a quick break before getting myself ready for Glasgow City’s campaign in the last 16 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in August and Scotland’s last two qualifiers to try to secure a play-off place for the Euro2013 Women’s Championship.
At 25 years of age I am the longest serving player at Glasgow City LFC and have seen many changes, all for the better I might add. One of the biggest improvements has been with our kit and each year sees us adorn a new strip. All the girls love being involved in the kit selection and despite the varying opinions on colour and style; we all look forward to pulling on a new quality strip to start the season.
As a national team player for Scotland I’m currently involved as a role model and this entails visiting girl’s football festivals, national youth camps and schools with the purpose of encouraging young girls to continue to participate in football and lead healthy lifestyles.
My advice to any up and coming youngsters who hope to be top players is to be dedicated – it’s easy to miss training on a cold night, but every session is a chance to improve. Also, make your own decisions. I have watched girls join clubs because their friends are there, and in the process turn down the opportunity to join a better club and miss out on vital development.
So keep training, keep playing and enjoy a great summer of football and sport.
By Emma Fernon,
Glasgow City LFC and Scotland & Host Your Kit ambassador