Everton FC player and England international Izzy Christiansen sat down with Her Game Too to discuss Everton’s support for the campaign, her experiences as a woman in football and Everton’s season so far.
Everton became the first Premier League club to partner with Her Game Too, and Christiansen sees this as an important statement from them: “I think it’s brilliant in terms of the club’s vision and awareness of current issues in football, and I think with regards to the vision of the club it says a lot about us, that [...] we’re very current in terms of supporting campaigns that are beneficial to fans in football”. Having started her career over a decade ago, Christiansen has seen dramatic change in the game around her. She was playing for Birmingham City – a founding member of the FA WSL – before the FA WSL was even formed and has been part of a generation of female footballers who had to fight for everything that they have now.
“I’ve played when there was never really a professional vision with it, and it was almost by chance that it just appeared that I was good at football and all of a sudden I was a professional football player [...] We’ve got young players coming through who would never know football how we knew it growing up, so there’s gentle reminders to them on how lucky they are to have this professional environment, but equally they’ve got to enjoy it and that’s now the times they’re living in”.
Christiansen also had to deal with negative attitudes as a woman in football long before getting into the professional game. She reminisces on a memory from her teenage years when a new head of PE banned her from playing football in the playground because she was playing with boys, but advises younger girls who want to get into football to remember their love for the game: “Don’t let anyone dampen your spirit or dampen what your vision is for your career however that may look [...] I think just being thick skinned and not letting anybody - for example my situation with the head of PE - don’t let them get in your head and don’t let them stop you from fulfilling what you want to do”
Speaking on Everton’s season, she recognises the difficult season they have experienced so far but looks ahead to the remaining games. “[Our fans] have stuck by us when things haven’t been easy so it was great to see them there on Wednesday night: Aston Villa away in full voice supporting the team right ‘til the end [...] But I think how our season is going to look is to be as best as we can be, only the league table will tell us how good that is. [...] For me there’s no other option than to just give our everything”.
Izzy Christiansen is part of a trailblazing generation of women’s football, and with her support for Her Game Too alongside her club, she is continuing to pave a way for the next generation of women in sport.