By her own admission, England and Everton midfielder Jill Scott is somebody who follows trends and crazes. Back in 2003, she went to watch a UEFA EURO 2004 qualifier between England and Turkey in her hometown of Sunderland with friends, promising her mum that she’d be back straight after the game. However, a worried parent failed to factor in Beckham-mania.
“We decided to wait until David Beckham came out to try to get his autograph,” smiled Scott. “There was a big crowd of people, but I remember sticking my hand out and he actually signed my poster. I was so pleased.
“When we were walking away from the Stadium of Light, I looked at the time and it was midnight – we’d been waiting for him for over two hours! I’d never been as told off in all my life as I was when I got home that night, and was grounded for about two weeks. But I just went to bed with my poster of David Beckham and I was happy.”
Fast forward nine years and Scott is now fully embracing another phenomenon: Twitter. After posting tweets for 18 months, the 25-year-old has recently broken the 10,000 followers mark and has interacted with a number of international stars, both male and female, celebrities and even the FIFA President.
“It’s quite addictive to be honest and it’s a great way to get the women’s game into the minds of others,” she told FIFA.com. “If it’s used in the right way, Twitter’s a great tool. When I look at it now, it’s mad to see that you have so many people interested in what you’re doing. I really noticed my followers rise during and after the Women’s World Cup in Germany, and I’m sure the other girls did as well.
“I was looking at [USA forward] Alex Morgan’s account the other day and she’s got half a million followers – and that’s just brilliant for the game itself. It’s superb that there are so many people interested in a person that plays women’s football too. I’m not saying that I’m aiming to get half a million as well, but it’s just good to see the interest in the women’s game growing all the time.”
The dynamic Scott, who was named in the squad of the tournament at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ last year, has also been selected as a digital media ambassador by the Football Association (FA), which sees her display her twitter handle – @jillscott12 – on her sleeve in FAWSL matches.
“It’s going well,” she continued. “We’ve also got a Facebook page where fans can learn more about the team, the players and read interviews. It’s still early days but we’ve got about a thousand likes so far. Hopefully it’ll encourage people to connect more with the clubs and the players.”
Scott’s team, Everton, have endured a mixed start to the new season, winning one, drawing one and losing one of their three games so far. The Toffees travel to Chelsea on Sunday and then have a home derby against Liverpool on 30 May.
“Every game is difficult – the standard of the league is just so much better,” she said. “I don’t think anybody is going into the games thinking, ‘We’re probably going to win this one 5-0.’ Every team is developing, growing and capable of winning every game. Arsenal were beaten in the cup final, which was a massive shock. It’s not only the teams and the players which are getting better though, a lot of other things are improving, such as the pitches. Last season, teams were reverting to the long ball because you couldn’t play football on them, so that’s got better.
“The number of people coming to watch the games can still improve, I think. After the World Cup, in the second part of the first season, I think we were getting over 1,000 to matches and but it’s probably back down to around 500.
“Obviously with Team GB taking part in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament at London 2012, it’s definitely time to exploit that and make sure that we get as much support for it as possible. Hopefully the fans and the media can get behind the girls and give them the support they deserve. But with that you have to put in the performances, because the performances will obviously grab more attention.”
I was looking at [USA forward] Alex Morgan’s account the other day and she’s got half a million followers – and that’s just brilliant for the game itself.