On the red carpet with Kelly Smith
Monday, 24 October 2022
Kelly Smith speaks about the exponential growth of the women's game at EA Sports Women's Football Summit
Charlotte Stacey | Getty Images
We were lucky enough to have a chat with footballing great Kelly Smith at EA Sports’ Women’s Football Summit to celebrate the launch of the Women’s Super League in FIFA23.
Smith is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most gifted footballers. During her prolific career, Smith earned 117 caps for her country and remains the Lionesses second highest goal scorer behind Ellen White. On the red carpet, the former England and Arsenal striker spoke about the increasing interest of the women’s game and shared some thoughts on the growth of the Women’s Super League, here’s what she had to say…
Imagining the growth of women’s football in the last couple of years…
“No, never ever ever ever! We just felt so disrespected when we were young aspiring female footballers. We got the last of everything. Hand-me-down kit, had to pay to play, trained only on the training ground when the men had left. And this wasn’t just the first team, it was the Under 15’s and that as well, so we were right at the low-level base of it.
"So, to see the game, and this event today with Sam Kerr on the cover, just shows how far the game’s come. Full time professionals, top European players and other countries want to come to England because they sense it. It’s the product, the competitiveness of the league and I think that’s vitally important to be in a competitive league.”
Growing competitiveness of the league…
“I mean nobody expected Man City or Chelsea to lose the opening games this season, but that’s what you want. You don’t want them to run away with it every year. You want these upsets, these wins that you’re not expecting and I think that’s what keeps fans coming back, because it’s exciting.”
One team to look out for…
“Everton impressed me actually, against Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. I thought they played some really good football. Nice, attacking, free-flowing football that we didn’t really see last year. I think the more games they play, the more they’ll get into a rhythm and I can see them upsetting one of the top four sides.”
This season’s top three…
“I think United might have a say in it. They started really well, they haven’t conceded right now. I know they haven’t played one of the ‘top three’ clubs around them but I do feel like they could. They’ve signed Garcia, Parris, Leon, so they’ve strengthened their squad. They’ve got different kinds of attacking players to change it up.
"I think the losses, the clear out that City had, it’s too many players. I think it’s going to take time to rebuild. They won against Leicester but they were expected to beat Leicester. So United, I do think they’ll be pushing closer than they did last season, I don’t think they would choke against the top sides.”
Kelly will be part of the punditry teams covering the WSL across the season in games selected for television broadcast.