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Women’s football: Corsie, a Scotland brave

By on October 15, 2012

Pic by Graeme Berry – Rachel Corsie after heading the opener in Glasgow City’s 2-0 win over Celtic on October 7. GINNY CLARK reports.

Rachel Corsie, like all of Scotland’s top women footballers, lives something of a double life. By day, she’s a trainee chartered accountant with Ernst & Young LLP in Glasgow. Several nights a week, however, she’s training hard for Scotland’s most successful women’s football club, turning out as captain each Sunday for Glasgow City, who have just achieved a sixth straight Scottish Women’s Premier League title.

Also a Scotland regular – the defender has scored seven goals in 46 appearances – Corsie is looking forward to Saturday’s (Oct 20) UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 play-off match against Spain. The home leg is at Hampden – the first time the women’s squad has played at the national stadium – and the return tie is in Madrid the following Wednesday. Scotland have reached this stage for the second Euro campaign in a row, after losing to Russia on away goals four years ago. And having the opportunity to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time is an exciting, but daunting, prospect.

The Hyndland-based player said: “Playing at Hampden is a dream for any Scot that is a football fan, so it will be a fantastic day for all involved. However, more importantly is the occasion, and Scotland are determined to reach Sweden next Summer. 

“The team has improved significantly over the last few years and we have showed we are capable of challenging the top sides in Europe. Reaching the finals is really our biggest goal at the moment and we feel we are now ready to get there. With the game being over two legs, the home support will be pivotal in the first match and it’s these small advantages that ultimately make the difference. 

“Admission is free, so we hope the fans will turn out in numbers and get behind the girls and that we can travel to Madrid next Wednesday with a great chance of qualification.”

Corsie, 23, has been playing football since she first started school. But Aberdeenshire’s loss has definitely proved Glasgow’s gain.

She said: “I’ve always loved football and began playing when I was around five years old. I then continued to play throughout school and played in both the boys and girls teams up until the age of 12, before joining my first club team, Stonehaven Youth and then the Scottish Women’s Premier League team Aberdeen, aged 17.”

Also selected for Scotland Under-19s, a three-year run ended on a high for Corsie as she captained the side to the European finals in France in 2008 – a level achieved for only the second time in Scottish history. That same year she joined City and earned her first full cap for Scotland. Corsie skippered the national side to a 2-0 Cyprus Women’s Cup win over England in March 2011, the first time Scotland had defeated them in more than 30 years.

It’s been another incredible campaign for City, of course, who secured the title with three games to go, underlining their domination with an 8-1 win over third-placed Hibs last weekend. However, there have been disappointments. A 0-0 draw in Denmark against Fortuna Hjørring, meant City lost 2-1 on aggregate to go out of the Women’s Champions League at the last-32 stage.

Corsie said: “The season so far has been another success for the club. To continue another year domestically unbeaten in the league and to still be in with a chance for the Treble reflects the hunger and desire the club has to continue to set standards for women’s football in this country. 

“It has been great to lead the club to another league title this year, an accolade that rewards the players for our consistency and hard work, which is topped off by another year guaranteed of Champions League football.

“It is hard to have to balance everything and all the girls do extremely well to commit what they do to the club,. However that is not an excuse for the team’s early exit from the Champions League. We were simply punished for a poor first half in Glasgow – which underlines the difference at the top level and was a very steep learning curve for the team. But one we will hopefully learn from and become stronger for next year’s competition.”

City’s experience adds fuel to the argument for advancing women’s football in Scotland, as it has been in England and throughout many countries in Europe, with some kind of professional or semi-professional set-up. And Scotland’s continuing success at international level would seem – at some point – to demand this.

Corsie said: “I do believe becoming semi-professional will need to be the next step in order for City to progress to the top – or any Scottish club for that matter, otherwise top players will be tempted to go elsewhere to continue their footballing desires, which will be to the detriment of our own domestic league.”

It’s not always mud and glory for Corsie, however. She does get the occasional afternoon off and Glasgow’s West End provides the ideal setting for a football star to kick back a little…

Corsie added: “I love the Hyndland area. The people and the surroundings are so lovely and when the weather decides to stay dry, I enjoy a stroll round to Byres Road for a coffee and catching up with friends. Three Steps to Heaven is also a favourite stop!”

* UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 play-offs, Scotland v Spain, Saturday October 20, kick-off 2pm – FREE, Hampden Park, Glasgow. * Glasgow City will be presented with the Women’s Premier League trophy at their home match against Aberdeen, on Sunday, October 28 @ 2pm @ Petershill Park, Adamswell St, G21 4DD. Scotland boss Anna Signeul will make the presentation – FREE.

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