International Women’s Day 2019 takes place on Friday 8th March and as one of the most female-empowered clubs in the Football League, Tranmere Rovers are highlighting their most inspiring women in the build-up to the big day.
IWD is a fantastic opportunity for local organizations to showcase the amazing women who have made a real difference in their field and acted as role models for future generations.
Sue Smith played grassroots football from the age of five and worked her way through the Tranmere Rovers youth teams before she was scouted by England Ladies at aged 16.
From there her achievement list skyrocketed - winning several League Cup, FA Cup and Premier League Cup honors with Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers.
She represented her country 93 times with 16 goals, won the International Player of the Year award twice and was a European Cup finalist.
After a spate of injuries halted her playing career, Smith turned her passion to punditry and offered her views and commentary skills to BBC Sport. She is now a regular Women’s Football correspondent for the BBC, LFC TV, Quest, Sky Sports and more.
Taking us back to her earliest memories of the game, she said: “When I was five years old, I played for a local boy’s team in Rainhill where I grew up. I was always that annoying little sister, my brother used to go off and play for Rainhill United and I used to follow him around and ask over and over again if I could join in."
“Eventually the manager said “it’s fine just let her play!” and I started to train with them properly.”
“I think my mum and dad thought I would just give up eventually and find something else because it was all boys but I was the one who turned up to every single training session, come rain or shine, and I always put absolutely everything into it because I loved it so much.”
As she got older, Smith joined a girl’s team in St. Helens and it was then that she was spotted by Steve Williams at Tranmere Rovers during a local tournament.
On her progression, Smith continued: “Once I joined a proper team like Tranmere I was going on away days with everyone and being part of the whole community, that’s when I decided this was something I wanted to do for a long time. I never dreamed that I would end up representing England or joining bigger clubs, I just knew I wanted to play as much as I could for as long as I could.”
“I got scouted for England when I was 16 and even when I was at the trial I remember thinking “there’s no way they’re going to want me” but then it all happened so quickly. Going down and training with the England squad I was just in awe of everyone that was playing.”
In recent years, Sue Smith has been awarded an honorary degree by Edge Hill University as well as a number of other honors from former clubs and sporting organizations.
When asked about her motivation, Smith told us: “There were no role models to look up to on TV or anything like that when I was younger, I admired the girls at Tranmere because they were older than me and really good players but other than that there wasn’t anything else around to compare myself to.
“I didn’t even know there was an England Women’s team until I got scouted for them!”
“I’ve always been a positive person and had my own goals and dreams from an early age, you should never let people say you can’t do something because if you have a dream there’s nothing anyone else can do to stop you achieving it. If you work hard there’s no reason why you can’t get what you want.”
“My mum is a very inspirational woman to me because she supported me throughout my playing career when I wasn’t earning a penny. She’s been to every single game of mine home and away and still watched everything I do on the TV no matter what time it’s on or how boring it is!”
For information on Tranmere Rovers Girls and Women’s Development Sessions get in touch:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call: 0151 608 2354