It’s hard to remember how exactly I got into football as I loved the game from such an early age. I think it was probably a combination of me living on the back of a football playing field, going away a lot with my cousins and their mates, and my Dad. It was such a struggle to find a local girls team for me to play for, but when my Dad finally found me one, I was so excited to get started. I think I was only 8 when I went down training with my first ever football team, Toby Celtic. I remember feeling nervous, as I’d only ever kicked a ball around with my brother or my Dad. But I quickly settled into the team and signed soon after.
Football has been, and continues to be, such a big part of my life.
Growing up, it was how I was known – ‘Grace the footballer’. I quickly realised that football was what I wanted to do. I signed for Liverpool Ladies at the age of 14 and stayed there for 5 years before moving to Manchester City development. When I was released from Manchester City, I was heartbroken, however reflecting back, I now realise it was probably a blessing in disguise. I moved to Manchester University to study Psychology and played for the girls football team there. Having that break from the pressure of playing at a high standard allowed me to fall back in love with the sport again, and after a year of not being signed for a club, I was raring to get back into it. I played for Wigan Athletic Ladies for two years and have recently signed for Chorley Women.
Football is so much more than just a sport.
It’s the memories you make with the friends in your team. It’s the bond it creates between you and your family as they come to watch every weekend. It’s the ups and downs it brings and how that strengthens you as a person. I would recommend football to any girl who is considering it. It doesn’t mean you have to be aiming to play for England, the majority of girls play for fun and because they enjoy it.
Football has done so much for me and I wanted to do something to give back. This inspired me to create my own company, MissKick, the brand for female footballers. I wanted to develop something that would empower current girls in football and inspire other girls who may not have considered football to try it out. Currently, I am selling t-shirts for £12 with £1 of every sale being donated straight back into girls grassroots football. I want to create better opportunities for the next generation of girls who falls in love with the sport like I did. More information can be found on our website.
If you’ve been inspired by Grace’s story, find out how to get started with football.