Rose Reilly: the only Scottish footballer to win the World Cup … as Italy captain

The Scottish FA would not let women play the game, so Reilly set off for Italy and won eight league titles, four Italian cups and the Mundialito Femminile

By Ginny Clark for Nutmeg magazine, part of the Guardian Sport Network

When Rose Reilly wandered away from her home in Stewarton, her three-year-old legs trudged 300 yards to the main road, right across from a big dusty patch of ground. “My mum told me I disappeared around the corner and she found me at the football pitch. I then wanted a ball with all my passion, but got a doll at Christmas, and in those days that was the only time you got something. I was so devastated I went out and swapped it for a ball. From the age of four, that ball went everywhere with me. I slept with it. If I went down the street for messages for my mum, I played keepie-uppie on the way there – and on the way back. Sometimes there would be a wee hill or stairs, but on I went.”

On, and on – in a sporting journey that can be measured in the height of Rose’s triumphs and in the miles travelled to achieve that success. She went from keepie-uppies to a full-time professional career in women’s football, from the dark blue of a Scotland strip to the azzurro of Italy, scoring for them as they won the World Cup.

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