Scotland skipper Rachel Corsie is today revealed as our new Evening Express columnist.
The Aberdonian, who will star for Shelley Kerr’s Dark Blues at their maiden World Cup, will provide weekly insight from the camp in France as the Scots take on the global elite.
Her first column will land in these pages tomorrow as the team build-up to Sunday’s curtain-raiser against England in Nice.
Corsie said: “I am so excited to join the Evening Express team.
“I am looking forward to bringing the readers my thoughts on football and the women’s game and I am excited to be able to share my World Cup journey so personally.”
The 29-year-old, who plays her club football across the Atlantic for the Salt Lake City-based Utah Royals, grew up in the Granite City and attended Hazlehead Academy.
Drawn to football by an Aberdeen-daft mum – she is the great-grandaughter of Dons legend Donald Colman – and amateur side-coaching dad, she has previously attributed her development as a player, like many of her peers, to having to play alongside boys early on.
The centre-back’s first girls team was Stonehaven Ladies, before a storied career which has taken her to Aberdeen Ladies, Glasgow City, Notts County, Seattle Reign, Utah Royals and Canberra United.
Corsie wasn’t paid to play until she went full-time with Notts County five years ago, and the qualified chartered accountant also worked as an auditor for Ernst and Young.
She has captained the national team for close to a decade, playing 109 times, leading them to their first European Championships two summers ago and now the pinnacle of the game.
Can she believe how far women’s football has taken her as it’s developed at home and abroad?
Corsie thinks players around her at Utah, like US captain Becky Sauerbrunn, have grown up believing they’re “going to win the World Cup”, but it wasn’t something which was on the north-east teenager’s radar.
However, despite how far the women’s game has come on in Scotland, she believes the next few weeks could be a “breakthrough moment”, one she will share with Evening Express readers.
She said: “I’ve spoken a little bit about this, but I didn’t realise the first Women’s World Cup was only 1991. I’m actually older than the tournament.
“But it wasn’t even something that was on your radar.
“I remember playing football and watching football because I loved it. It wasn’t something I considered as a career.
“But the growth and awareness of the game has just taken off.”
Corsie added: “Over the last few years we’ve done a really big push on raising the profile and awareness of the game (in Scotland).
“I think what would be a breakthrough moment would be painting the picture that there’s a high-level performance element to it.
“This is the pinnacle – it’s top level, there is a professionalism to the sport, so it’s not just seen as everyone coming together and encouraging one another and all being about fun. It’s about showing there’s value to it – it’s a career possibility and that’ll be a big step forward.”
Scotland’s leader on the park will be in the thick of it against the Auld Enemy this weekend, before other group games against Japan and Argentina. They will be hopeful of securing the three or four points to get out of their pool.
However, an opening result against England could capture the imagination of the entire country.
Corsie knows the magnitude of the Battle of Britain and the potential for creating a generation-defining momentum, saying: “We’re going into the game with a game plan and I think if we can implement that with conviction, we play together, I think it will be really tight.
“A lot of the girls know one another. I’ve played with and against a number of the (English) girls for years now.
“It’s a game we’re all looking forward to. There’s been a lot of apprehension building up over the last few months and I think it’s such a huge game.”
She added: “It’s hard to say (what success would be) before you get there.
“But first and foremost we’ve set a realistic target that we feel we can get out of the group. The structure meaning third place could be enough to progress really makes that achievable for us.
“England and Japan are two experienced teams and will both feel they can go and win the whole tournament.
“It’s a tough group, but if you get out of that you know there will be results in other groups that go unexpectedly.
“That means waiting to see what your draw is and then in a one-off, on that sort of stage, anyone can beat anyone.
“If we create chances we can beat anyone on our day.
“I don’t think there’s a limit – but the first aim is to get out of the group.”