It had been a cold day. The cold winds of Winter blew noisily through the trees and buffeted me as I trudged home after a long day at school. I felt numb. There were no birds, no people outside. The woods were quiet… almost as if they were awaiting something.
“Ding” My phone emitted the sound it makes when a notification pops up. I ignored it. And looked at the river I was crossing. The water running fast, and strong under the eaves of the bridge. “Ding”. There it was again…I wanted to ignore it, but I couldn’t. Reluctantly I took my phone out of my pocket. There on the screen were the words. “Chelsea sign Jamie-Lee Napier as Scotland Under-19 midfielder leaves Hibernian” I shouted in delight! For I knew, that FINALLY all the pieces were coming together… unlike the men’s team, Chelsea FCW were complete. We lack nothing. Let me tell you why.
Jamie-Lee Napier is a 19-year-old Scottish lass (for lack of a better word) who has joined Chelsea from Hibernian Women’s Football Club that plays in the Scottish Women’s Premier League. Her only being 19 years old definitely buys us some time to not only develop her, but see where her best fit is in the team. The former Celtic player looks slight of build but former coach Scott says she is deceptively strong. What’s clear to the naked eye is that she is speedy and a hard worker. Attitude is everything in sport, and Chelsea’s new signing oozes positivity.
It has been an impressive year for Napier and her performances for Hibernian led to her being named as the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 Player of the Year (She is only 19!). She played in 33 games and she found the target 22 times. This alone speaks volumes of the kind of player that Chelsea have got their hands on.
Napier also played in the U19 Euros, which were held in Scotland during the summer, and scored three goals in Hibs’ Champions League qualifying group. She was the second top scorer in the league with 14, albeit seven behind Glasgow City’s Kirsty Howat.
There was another highlight in August when Napier was called into the full Scotland squad for the opening Euro 2021 qualifier (alongside teammate Erin Cuthbert) against Cyprus as an injury replacement. The move to Chelsea is unlikely to harm her chances of being selected again next year.
Originally a full-back, her versatility soon became clear as she was pushed forward, playing as a winger and a striker, becoming a key player for Grant Scott’s side with her almost free role in the forward areas causing all sorts of problems for opposition defences, her pace and eye for goal making her a nightmare to stop. Napier’s addition to the squad may prove pivotal as she provides a pacey fullback option that Emma Hayes has been lacking.
I was struggling to find a suitable ending for this article but Emma Hayes put it beautifully, as if reading my mind.
“Jamie Lee Napiers’ personality, her hard-working spirit and quality will add something to our squad. It’s important that we keep developing younger players and she is one we have identified for the future.”