CAROLINE WEIR ON HER CAREER PROGRESS
On International Women’s Day 2018, Scotland Women's National Team midfielder Caroline Weir reflects on how her career has progressed from being the only girl on a boys' team to being nominated as one of the best female football players in the world.
Hailing from Dunfermline, Weir started playing football at a young age and is now approaching 50 Scotland caps and starring for Liverpool.
She scored the winning goal against Spain in the Euros and was recently named on the FIFPro World XI shortlist, confirming her status as one of the best midfielders in the world.
Caroline, congratulations on being named as one of the players on the FIFPRO World XI shortlist. What does it mean to be recognised by your teammates and opponents you’ve faced?
It’s a huge honour and I definitely didn’t expect to be named in a group containing so many players I look up to.
I am really enjoying my football at the moment and have big ambitions for 2018, so to be recognised like that is great for me.
I have to thank my teammates, as they have been great at always pushing me to be a better player.
When did you footballing journey begin?
My first memories of playing football was in the back garden with my Dad, brother and sister who were all into football as well. I was about three-years-old at that time and then joined my first team aged five, with boys.
I continued playing with the boys team at Pittencrieff Primary School for five years throughout school before moving to Hibernian when I was 10.
My Dad, Lindsay, has been very supportive from day one and came to all my games and drove me all over the country.
When I joined Hibs he got involved with the running of the club and became Chairman of the girls set up and helped construct the pathway into the first team.
Kirsty Smith and Claire Emslie were both involved in that squad so it’s nice to still be playing with them for our country.
A young Caroline Weir (front row, second from left) playing for Hibs alongside fellow SWNT stars Kirsty Smith (back row, third from left) and Claire Emslie (front row, second from right).
When you’ve grown up with each other, it’s nice to see your friends do so well. Claire is absolutely smashing it at Man City and I’m delighted for her.
What was it like breaking through at Hibernian and then moving down to England?
I was only young, around 15-years-old when I made my debut for Hibs so it was pretty daunting, but great to experience a high level early on alongside some international players.
At 18 I then moved to Arsenal when Shelley (Kerr) was the head coach and it was a huge step for me.
I was there for two years and it was a massive learning experience for me with some good and also tough experiences.
It made me a better player in the long run as I had to grow up as a person.
Looking back now, it was a really worthwhile experience but at the time it had its difficulties as I was so far away from home and living on my own for the first time was hard.
Shelley has always been a great coach and it’s great to be playing under her again as I believe I’m a much better player now and more mature.
How did your move to Liverpool come about?
Before going to Liverpool I spent four months at Bristol City under Willie Kirk, who coached me at Hibs. That time allowed me to play consistently in a good league. As much as it was a short time, it was a massive point in my career and was really important.
Now that I’m at Liverpool I can see just how much the women’s game has progressed over the years. The physical side of the game has grown and there seems to be a lot more interest than there was when I was breaking through, especially off the back of the Euros.
We see ourselves as role models coming through and it’s something I think we all take very seriously.
What did you learn from playing at Euro 2017?
It was one of the highlights of my career so far and just to be at a major tournament was an experience I’ll never forget.
The last game was so bittersweet as I loved scoring the winning goal against Spain which was a big high but to not get that second goal to put us through was a huge low. That’s just football though.
All the players loved the Euros and it’s made us hungrier to reach the World Cup
What advice would you give to aspiring footballers?
If you feel you’re standing still, then you need to change that and always make sure you’re improving and developing. If I think I’m standing still it’s the worst feeling. That means you’re not improving and wasting your time.
Most of all though, you need to enjoy what you’re doing as that makes it easier to sacrifice things and work hard.
What’s next for Caroline Weir?
Short term, qualifying for the World Cup in 2019 is a priority but most of all I just want to help the team in whatever way possible and make sure I am performing to my optimum best.