All Things Chelsea’s Enoch Eicher had the exciting opportunity to have an Interview with Jamie-Lee Napier‘s mother, Christine. Huge thank you to Christine for taking time out of her day to give Chelsea fans a bit of insight ChelseaFCW’s dynamic young signing that we are all excited about.
Enoch: Hi Christine, so to start off. Who does Jamie-Lee get her footballing skills from, you or her dad?
Napier: I would love to say me as both myself & her dad played football growing up, so will go with both.
Enoch: Brilliant to hear! There’s definitely been a lot of development in the women’s game in recent years. How have you seen the women’s game change personally since Jamie-Lee began playing football?
Napier: Football has changed so much over the years. There is a lot more girls & women teams now along with a lot more people watching women’s football and attending games. Over the years there would only be family or friends at games, but now we see a lot more fans and its great. We still have a bit to go but the women’s game us heading in the right direction.
Enoch: That certainly rings true with the England Women’s National team playing at Wembley against Germany. Not only more fans but more media coverage which is great and long may it continue. What differences do you see between the evolution of women’s football in England and women’s football in Scotland?
Napier: First of all there are bigger crowds at games in England than in Scotland. You can see the difference in the game as it’s a lot faster in England. Every team has a lot of of talented big name players and all stand-outs. English teams have a lot more players to choose from – I would say whereas some but not all Scottish teams rely on 3 or 4 players in their team. The training facilities are a lot different and pitches and stadiums used better in England, but we do have some great ones in Scotland, but mostly used for bigger games and not every week.
Enoch: Did you ever consider trying to dissuade Jamie-Lee from pursuing a professional career because of the ceiling that women’s sports have historically had?
Napier: Me and her dad have always supported her with her football. We knew it would be a challenge, but have always been behind her and encouraged her to follow her dream. Seeing your child do what they love is such a great feeling.
Enoch: What has it been like having to send your daughter off to London on her own at such a young age?
Napier: As a parent you constantly worry about your child no matter what age. But Jamie-Lee had already been living through in Edinburgh since she was 17 at Heriot Watt as part of the SFA Performance Academy while studying at college and the University and would come home at weekends. So we were used to her being away but it is only 1hr drive away as opposed to 8hrs to London. We knew she would be on good hands and the fact Erin was already down there made us feel more at ease. The main thing for me was that I wouldn’t get to all the games and watch her play every week.
Enoch: Who did Jamie-Lee look up to as a role model when she was growing up?
Napier: Jamie-Lee’s favourite player growing up with has to be Messi. We have always called her Messi as she was small and fast and very determined.
Enoch: Not a bad comparison to have in the slightest haha. So, when Jamie-Lee signed for Chelsea, how did that make you feel as a parent?
Napier: When Jamie-Lee first told me Chelsea were interested I burst into tears and was just so happy. When she signed that was one the happiest and proudest moments for me. To see all my daughters hard work and determination pay off, and her dream come true, made me the happiest and proudest mum. It was so emotional and such a happy time for us as a family. We always have been so proud of Jamie-Lee and all she has achieved so far in life, but to see her sign for Chelsea was the icing on the cake.
Enoch: A credit to the hard work she’s put in until now, it must of been a dream come true. Continuing on the thought trail of hard work. What challenges did you face as a parent while raising a daughter who was pursuing a professional career in sport?
Napier: There was many challenges, from many nights training straight in after work then back out to training and not home till late at night. The amount of travelling to training and games. We saw her push herself and at times doubt herself. Over the year some people would comment on her height as she was a young girl playing against players some double her size, but that just pushed her on more and made her more determined. Was hard when she would constantly train and couldn’t go out with her friends or attend parties or events due to training or games, but this was the choice she made as she was doing what she loved. It has been a long journey so far and still a tough journey ahead, but wouldn’t change a thing all the late nights at training have been so worth it.
Enoch: Those sacrifices certainly paid off and we wish her all the success in the future with the team. It’s going to be exciting times seeing her develop at the club, hopefully signed off with some trophies! It’s been a pleasure to interview you, thanks for your time, Christine.Thanks to the readers also, we hope you enjoyed this special feature and there’ll certainly be more to come! #StayHomeSaveLives