“When you’re on the pitch, nothing else matters,” says Manchester City and England forward Georgia Stanway.
Ahead of the Women’s World Cup this summer – every game of which will be broadcast on the BBC – Arsenal fan Adwoa Aboah, who is working on a documentary about women’s football with Nike, would like you to meet talented 20-year-old footballer Georgia Stanway.
How did you first get into playing football?
I have three brothers, so I either had to join in or get the ball kicked at me. When I was three years old, I used to train with my brother’s under-sevens football team. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just kicking the ball, but I loved it.
I played for a boys team until I was 13. When I’d turn up at games, the opposition would be like, ‘Ooh, there’s a girl playing’, but I thrived on it. Once you put the ball through someone’s legs and score a goal, they have so much respect for you.
What attracted you to a team sport as opposed to a solo activity?
Everyone has a role to play and will do their best, but as part of a team you’ve got to support whatever happens. I’ve got the backing of the girls and if things don’t go to plan they know how to pick you back up.
What’s the best thing about your teammates?
Away from the pitch we have a good laugh and enjoy each other’s company, because we’re with each other more than our own families – I moved from my home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, to play for Manchester City when I was 16. We go for coffee, go to the cinema or everyone goes round to someone’s house while they cook. I’ve got friends who are 35 and I’d never have had that at home.
What does the future hold for women’s football?
It’s on the up, money’s getting put into it. Hopefully there will be television rights for club games soon and that will help to get more supporters on board. We need as many fans as possible because that’s where the money comes from and if more people are enjoying games there’s likely to be a bigger talent pool in future.
Any advice for women who want to play?
Just give it a go. There’s something for everyone – there’s even walking football for older ladies. Having something to focus on can take your mind off everyday life, especially for people who are struggling at work or with family issues. Football is a release, a place you can go and be with your mates. When you’re on the pitch, nothing else matters.
We’re celebrating Stylist’s 10th birthday in 2019 – and to honour the occasion, we’ve asked 10 of our favourite women to guest edit an issue of the magazine. Adwoa Aboah is our second star guest editor; see everything from her special issue here.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 runs from 7 June to 7 July; fifa.com
Image: Tom Flathers Photography / Manchester City FC