“Football and, generally, all sports are for anyone; there are no limitations because of sex or age”. These are the words that the Sheffield United player, Ellie Wilson, chose to introduce herself with. Ellie didn’t grow up dreaming about a professional career on football fields, until Reading gave her the opportunity by literally throwing a ball on her feet. Wilson is letting the eyap.gr readers know about her progress on football, her personal and team goals, while she’s also elaborating about the unmatched passion that all English people have about football.
In a world functioning with its normal flow, tomorrow would have been a day of celebration in United Kingdom. Football season is officially coming back; however, in the midst of all this year’s confusion, football enthusiasts are demanded to stay home. The ice-cold beers in the pubs of every British city might have even gone warm by the time fans will be officially welcome back on the fields. It is widely known that football in U.K. is so much more than just a sport, whether it is about Premier League, the Championship or even about amateur divisions. Among all those though, women’s football is also proudly placed in the hearts of the English sports fans, with the same grace and glory. It has, in fact, such solid foundations that it could be a reason enough to love Sundays on the English –among many others- football fields.
This introduction could not have been accidental, since it is destined for the left back of the women’s football team of Sheffield United, Ellie Wilson, who has her own special way of persuading you to dedicate at least 90 minutes of your time, in order to appreciate the values, the effort and the future of women’s football in a so-called “male-dominated” field. To make a long story short, let’s get to know Ellie Wilson better, since she grew up in the historical Windsor, but it took her only a few months to turn her hobby into a job career. In her own words, “the rest is history”…
G: What triggered you to engage with football? Was it your childhood dream?
Ε: «I had never considered football until I started playing it at school occasionally. It wasn’t until I got scouted by Reading FC to join their development programme that I had ever had a clue about football, but from that moment on, the challenge of trying to get into the main Academy squad had me hooked and I stuck with it until I got there. The rest is history!»
Ellie Wilson is a 23-year-old left back football player that has proven through the years that her persistence, passion, talent and technique were the characteristics that made her stand out and led to her being one of the K-23 of the National Team of England! On a professional level, she has played for Reading FC, Bristol City, London Bees, while today she’s “proudly wearing”, as she herself is mentioning, Sheffield’s United jersey, since she is playing for the FA Women’s Championship (2nd division of women’s football in U.K.).
Since 2015, Ellie has appeared professionally 45 times on the English football fields, while 10 times out of them she was wearing the national emblem. These days will always remain carved in her heart, as it was approved in every possible way that her being chosen to be there was not wrong. In other words, Ellie’s dreams are so far leading her way, without betraying her!
G: What was a special moment in your career, something you’ll never forget?
Ε: «I think I would have to say making my competitive international debut for England. It was for the Under 19’s in the UEFA Women’s European Championships, Israel 2015. That was a very special, proud moment, one that I’ll never forget.»
G: What do you say to those who claim that football is a men’s sport?
Ε: «Sport is for all, whether that be football or something else. Yes, football has been dominated and has been established for years and years by the Men’s teams but its just had a head start over the Women’s game. Hopefully the Women’s game can get just as big and become as popular. There’s no reason why it can’t or why Women shouldn’t play!»
G: What are your ambitions and how would you describe your football character in a few words?
Ε: «I am a very competitive payer. I want to win and be at the top of the game. Hopefully I can be successful in the game at club level and international. Like I’m sure any player would say, I want to be winning World Cups, Champions League, domestic leagues, you name it.»
G: How does it feel to play football in England? Your first impressions about your new team?
Ε: «The standard in England is increasing every year, particularly in the FA WSL which is now attracting players from all over the world. So its feels good to be playing against these players. This has increased the standard across both the FA WSL and Championship which is great. As for my new club, so far I have loved playing for Sheffield United. We’ve got a big season coming up and I think it’s a very exciting time to be at the club.»
The women’s football team of Sheffield United was founded in July of 2002 and it has appeared 5 times on the WSL, while last year it had a close-call defeat by Aston Villa! The people working on the team’s club seem to have enough focus on the project and drive, so as to lead the team from the beautiful Sheffield back to success and back to the first division. Let us all remember that in this year’s team roster the greek player Veatriki Sarri is also included, that we were glad to interview on our website some months ago…
On the premier of the championship last Sunday, Sheffield won over the local football team London City Lionesses by scoring 4-1! Both Ellie Wilson and Veatriki Sarri were among the 11 basic players of the team. The most awarded women’s football teams in United Kingdom are Chelsea and Arsenal, with 3 championships each.
G: Did you ever regret about following this path (of being a professional footballer)?
Ε: «No, never. Yes there are a lot of tough challenging times but I’m sure that is the same in any sport or any profession. The highs most definitely out-weigh the lows so there’s honestly nothing else I would rather be doing that playing football.»
G: For you, who is the best female footballer of all time? Your idol maybe.
Ε: «Kelly Smith was an unbelievable player, so I think I would have to say her! Currently, I’d say Lucy Bronze. She has just signed for Manchester City from Lyon and she seems to be going from strength to strength.»
Kelly Smith is an ex football player; she is, in fact, thought to be one of the best that ever existed on the football fields and she stood out the most while playing for Arsenal, where she scored 73 goals on just 66 (!!) appearances.
Lucy Bronze, on the other hand, was born in U.K. on October 28th of 1991 and completed last year by playing for Lyon, where she scored 2 goals on 19 appearances, while she also won the Women’s Champions League. Today, she is wearing the jersey with the number 20 on the women’s football team of Manchester City!
G: As a female football player in England, is football enough to make a living?
Ε: «In the top division (FA WSL) yes, particularly if you are at some of the bigger clubs. It varies, depending on which club your at, but with the WSL being professional, yes, that is your full-time profession. The FA women’s championship only has a handful of full-time clubs so again it varies.»
G: What are your personal characteristics that made you stand out in the field of sports?
Ε: «I would say I am quite physical, attacking minded and competitive. I love to go forwards and join in with the attacks whenever I can. I also like to get the ball down at play when I can!»
G: What would be your message to all the girls who have the same dream of playing professional football one day?
Ε: «I would have to say stick at it! If it’s what you want to do and you enjoy it, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or can’t be successful. Work hard, be resilient, and most of all, ENJOY IT! That’s the most important thing.»
G: And the big dilemma… Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Ε: «CR7. (I think…) Messi is also an unbelievable player. I think they are both class, they’re just different players but Ronaldo, for me, has that edge and individual flair that will win a game slightly more than I think Messi does.»
The great Johan Cruyff had once said; “as long as you love what you’re doing, you can overcome anything”. This particular saying is closely connected with the topic of this text, as it comes to challenge our way of thinking and coping with specific situations. Ellie Wilson has a never-ending passion for this sport, ability, talent and love for what she’s doing. She is a woman, but this is not limiting her in any way, nor does it stop her from scoring. There are many more athletes like Ellie; we just have to discover them and give them the value they deserve, since it was proven once more that women’s football has both present and future. It can be found not only in U.K., but everywhere; on small fields and sandlots around the world. It only takes someone to appreciate it and invest on it, so as to continue the progress that has been made with women’s football through all these years.
Ellie Wilson, we would like to thank you warmly for our conversation. We wish you all the best!