EXCLUSIVE – Interview With Everton Ladies Keeper Rachel BrownBy Liam White • Jan 13th, 2010 • Category: News, Website Features |
Everton have a successful Ladies side, winners of the Premierleague Cup in 2008 and runners up in the league in 2009. Everton Ladies goalkeeper and England number 1 Rachel Brown has answered some questions about our ladies side.
Q. So why did the Everton Foundation get involved in women’s football
and how far back does this connection go between Everton and a ladies
The Everton Foundation has had a women’s and girls development programme
now for over 10 years. The Everton Ladies current team is not directly
linked to the Foundation but the W&G community work is.
Q. How has the relationship been between Everton FC and Everton Ladies?
The relationship is better than it has ever been. We get lots of
support from the club but there are always things to strive to improve.
I’m confident that the links between the club and the ladies will
continue to get better.
Q. The Everton Ladies have seen some success in recent years with some
cup finals, narrowly missing out on the league and of course winning the
Premier league Cup final. How does it feel to be playing for a side
competing for honours?
Of course this is the position every footballer wants to be in; annually
competing for honours. I think we’ve narrowed the gap between our
closest rivals, Arsenal and beat them in the FA league cup
semi final! We will now play Leeds in the final which is due to be played in February. We have a lot of
international players who are very ambitious and are always looking to
move the club forward to the next level.
Q. Of course you unfortunately missed the Premier league Cup Final through injury, has
that given you an added incentive to push the team on to further
Absolutely, that was a real day of mixed emotions for me. I was
obviously delighted we’d won the cup but then a bit down that I hadn’t
been a part of it on the pitch. I celebrated all the same!
Q. What do you think the future holds for the Everton Ladies for both
the current team and the club in general?
There is an FA proposal for the Women’s Superleague to begin in 2011
which would be a summer league. Clubs around the country are currently
bidding to be one of 10 teams competing in a national summer league.
Formal business plans are being submitted very soon which would be of a
huge benefit to Everton ladies and the club, should Everton be one of
the clubs in the new Superleague. This would be the biggest step in
improving the standard and profile of both the ladies team at Everton
and women’s football in general.
Q. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the record attendance for
women’s football was at Goodison in 1920 in front of a crowd of
approximately 53,000. It is argued that this huge attendance, double
the average attendance of the men’s side at the time, lead to the FA
banning ladies football on Football League grounds. So Everton and
Ladies football do have some history together, so how do you rate
Everton as a club to rebuild ladies football nearly 90 years later and
do you believe Ladies football will ever return to Goodison?
I don’t think the ladies team will ever play regularly at Goodison-it’s
not practical with the number of games played on it now with just the
men’s team, the grounds man has a hard enough job!
Q. Of course the Everton Ladies is not just the senior side but goes
down to providing football for youths. How do you feel this has helped
the Everton Ladies?
Many of the girls have come through the Everton centre of excellence
from U10 age groups and are now playing in the senior first team and the
reserves. There are several girls in the centre of excellence who are
currently in the England youth teams which is obviously a benefit in
improving the standard of girls football in the area. As well as the
centre of excellence there are many girls developmental and club
football teams across Merseyside and the Everton Foundation deliver lots
of girls only football sessions across Merseyside in schools. This
provides many opportunities for girls of all age-groups and abilities to
get involved in football.
Q. Do the Everton Ladies do anything beyond the footballing side of
Most of us work or study full-time and unfortunately don’t have much
time to out in the community! We all chip in when we can and attend
Everton soccer camps and promotional events. Some of the girls coach at
the centre of excellence which provides good role models as most are
senior international players. Fortunately I am employed by the Everton
Foundation and therefore am out in the community and in schools nearly
every day of the week. It’s a great feeling to know I can be an
ambassador for women’s football in my role as a teacher in the
Q. You are of course the first choice keeper for not just Everton
Ladies but also England so you must have travelled to many countries
with the international team as well as Everton. So how does England and
Everton’s ladies football set up compare to those in other countries?
The USA are unique in that all their female players have the opportunity
to play football full-time during their university careers as college
(university) sports are hugely marketed. Girls can get full
scholarships to fund their whole university lives based on their
sporting ability. I actually went through this system and was of great
benefit to my football and educational career. League football in this
country is improving and the Super league will hopefully improve this
dramatically. Several of the most successful nations offer league
football as a semi-professional/professional game which obviously has
it’s benefits. The USA currently has a professional league which again
has drawn some of the worlds best payers over there.
Q. Do you believe English ladies football will have a star of the
profile of Mia Hamm in the future?
Mia Hamm is a multi-millionaire and was based on the success of the US
national team in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Sponsorship money and
media coverage were huge based on their success winning world cups and
Olympic games time after time. If we had that success then it will help
the game but I don’t think any female players would get that superstar
status. You have to remember that the US doesn’t have the competition
of men’s football and is arguably bigger ad more marketable than men’s
soccer in the US. England is moving in the right direction which is all
we can ask for at this moment in time.
Q. What would like to see happen to the ladies football in England? Do
you believe ladies football will become professional?
I would like the media to really push the popularity of women’s football
as a sport in it’s own right and not comparing/demeaning it to men’s
football. The opportunity to become professional will obviously help
improve us as a national team and increase our chances of success, which
ultimately will improve our status as a sport. Women’s cricket has
rightly had a lot of publicity recently due to their success and we
would love to be in the same situation.
Q. And finally on a personal note, what has been the highlight of your
career so far?
Playing in the European Championships final v Germany in 2009 was the
highlight so far. Even though we were outclassed and rightly beaten in
the final, it was wonderful to get to and experience a major
championships final. Looking forward I would love to win a trophy with
Everton and looking further forward I would love to have the opportunity
to be a part of the GB Olympic squad.