Claire Emslie has been included in Shelley Kerr’s Scotland Womens World Cup squad and the 25-year-old can’t hide her delight at inclusion.
In an exclusive interview with NTOF, she also revealed her optimism about the women’s game in her homeland and offers her advice to young girls looking to ‘make it’.
Women’s game in Scotland
“Every time I pull a Scotland shirt on it makes me feel a huge sense of pride,” Emslie began. “As a patriotic Scot, there is no better feeling than representing my country playing football.” When Emslie started out, she’d have gone against the norm. But the now Orlando Pride forward is delighted to see it continuing to develop.
“It’s growing a lot every year. I would like to see it continue to grow with the continued investment from big Scottish football clubs,” claimed the former Manchester City star.
“Providing more qualified coaches at lower age groups will also help improve the women’s game. It will take a number of years but eventually it would be great to have a full-time professional league in Scotland.”
The only way is up
Emslie’s career path is a perfect example of how to progress in the game. Having started out at Hibernian, she later moved to England to play for both Bristol and Manchester City before recently switching the United Kingdom for the United States.
“The most significant change I’ve noticed is the number of young girls that play football and the acceptance of girls playing football. It’s not a weird thing that girls play anymore,” claimed the Florida Atlantic University graduate.
Affiliated with men’s side Orlando City SC (Soccer Club), Emslie will play with some greats in the women’s game such as Marta and America’s own Alex Morgan for Orlando Pride. She was keen to pass on advice for younger women looking to make a name for themselves.
“Do something every day that makes you better. Eat right, sleep well and train hard. Do extra training, make it fun and always enjoy kicking a ball.”
World Cup to come
It’s been well documented that this is Scotland Women’s first ever World Cup, which the male side haven’t qualified for this millennium. Emslie believes that this World Cup is just the beginning for women’s football in Scotland.
“This World Cup will increase the reputation of women’s football. The BBC are treating production and content like it’s a men’s tournament, all games will be televised too,” the former Hibs teen revealed.
“Scotland Women recently played at Hampden Park and put on an entertaining performance in front of over 18,500 people. I think this sort of thing will increase the reputation of the women’s game massively,
“It’s growing hugely as it is, so as long as more people are open to women’s football and give it a chance, the reputation will continue to grow.”
Her hometown of Penicuik is proving quite the hub of footballing talent. Colorado Rapids and former Hearts winger Sam Nicholson and St Johnstone duo Jason Kerr and Chris Kane all grew up in the town.
It’s good to see Emslie representing the ladies in the same light. Here’s hoping she and her teammates can make a good account of themselves against some tricky opponents in the upcoming World Cup and hopefully encourage growth in the women’s game.