FIFA Women's World Cup
Weir: We want the whole nation behind us
19 Apr 2019
- Manchester City and Scotland forward outlines her France 2019 hopes
- Played key role in helping her country reach the Women’s World Cup
- Weir: "Qualifying for France was a career high"
“As a little girl, that’s something that you dream of: to play for Scotland at a World Cup.”
Caroline Weir was just three years old when Scotland last graced the global stage, as the men’s senior side appeared at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™. Understandably, she cannot remember any of that tournament. No matter, she is heading to France this year for a historic global finals, to make memories of her own, at Scotland’s maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
“It’s great to have a team that the whole nation can get behind,” Weir told FIFA.com. “For it to be the World Cup, it doesn’t get bigger so we’re very proud. We hope we can inspire not just girls to play football, but boys as well, and for the nation to get behind us and enjoy supporting a football team.”
Current club: Manchester City
Previous clubs: Liverpool, Bristol Academy, Arsenal, Hibernian
Position: Attacking midfielder/Forward
Honours: 2014 FA Cup (with Arsenal), 2016 Scottish Player of the Year
International debut: Iceland 2-3 Scotland (1 June 2013, aged 17)
First international goal: v. Faroe Islands (13 September 2014, aged 19)
Many of the players heading to the finals in France understand their position as role models, with the exponential growth of the women’s game requiring elite players to continuously and actively promote the women’s game. The Manchester City forward acknowledges this privileged position, while recognising how far the game has come.
“When I was really young I played in a boys’ team, I was the only girl,” Weir recalled. “There were always negative comments from the boys I was playing against or the parents of the opposition. But the team I played in, they didn’t care that I was a girl. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but looking back now that made me think how I do nowadays - knowing that there have been barriers that you have to go through.
“It’s great to see the game the way it’s going now and if you’re a young girl who wants to play football there are opportunities out there. There’s obviously a way to go but it’s an exciting time for girls that want to play.”
The younger generation in Scotland will have countrywomen to look up to for the first time on the global stage, thanks to the exploits of Weir and her compatriots in reaching France 2019. Weir was on the pitch in Albania for that historic moment.
“It was just an overwhelming feeling of being so proud that we’d achieved it,” Weir smiled. “It was a moment that’s probably a career high for me. We knew we had to win our game, which we did, and we didn’t know until a few seconds after the final whistle that we’d actually done it.
“When everyone ran on to the pitch, we knew straight away what had happened. It was quite an emotional one as well because it’s something we’ve worked for for so long and we’ve had other campaigns where we’ve not been successful.”
Scotland will face auld rivals England – “a huge occasion” – in their Women’s World Cup debut, with Shelley Kerr’s side drawn into a tough group alongside Japan and Argentina.
“Right now we want to get out of the group,” Weir said. “I think that would be our number one aim. But we’ll take each game as it comes. We don’t want to just make up the numbers, we want to give it a really good go and see how we get on. One game at a time.”
SCOTLAND'S GROUP D GAMES
England, Nice - 9 June (17:00 local time)
Japan, Rennes - 14 June (14:00 local time)
Argentina, Paris - 19 June (20:00 local time)
Weir will be hoping then that she celebrates her 24th birthday on 20 June, the day after Scotland’s final Group D game against Argentina, as part of a team in the knockout stages at France 2019. A run into the Round of 16 would undoubtedly mean a long overdue extended party for the Tartan Army – the men’s senior side have never made it past the opening round of a World Cup.
“We have such a great fanbase when we play at home and they really helped us in difficult moments during the qualifying campaign,” Weir said. “The more fans that can make the trip across to France the better. It’s obviously not too far away and if the Tartan Army are there singing for us, it’s only going to spur us on. We hope that’s the same for the whole nation. It’s a big deal for Scotland as a whole, so we hope we can get as much support as possible.”
Weir’s dream as a little girl is about to turn into a reality. She will hope her exploits in France allow young Scots across her home nation to dream big too.