the crazy story of Scotland's Rose Reilly


Rose Reilly in 1975 at the AC Milan Women's Club
Rose Reilly in 1975 at AC Milan Women's Club Wipédia / Club Archives

On 18 November 1972, Scotland's women's football team plays its first official match. His opponent is none other than Auld Ennemy England, an unequaled sports rival. Scottish women's football, banned in 1921 by the federation, is in its infancy. This first international match played by the Scots is played at the Stade de Ravenscraig, Greenock, which dazzles players used to evolve on municipal land, with onlookers for only public.

On D-Day, Scotland lost 3-2 to the "treacherous Albion". But, of this match, during which they had opened the score and even scared the English, leading 2-1, the Scots have mostly retained one thing: the goal scored by Rose Reilly, which allowed them a moment of 'believe in. The attacker had found the cage directly by shooting a corner.

Rose Reilly is not "anyone" on this team. The player, who plays in the Scottish club Westthorn, has a singular history. Which illustrates the difficulty for women to play football.

Hair cut very short to mingle with boys

The young woman has always played football. But she had to use subterfuges to live her passion. At the age of seven, she cut her hair very short, on the advice of his coach, to be able to mingle with the boys of his local club.

His talent is such that a recruiter Celtic Glasgow, impressed by the seven goals that the young Rose has scored in a match, wants to approach him to make a proposal. He retracts when he understands that Rose is a little girl. " I thought that if I was good enough I could play for Celtic She regretted years later.

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His parents do not accept his passion for football. They try to convince her to turn to athletics, a discipline in which she excels as a teenager. At school, she is spotted by the boys' sports teacher and trains with them.

Quickly, Rose has to make a choice. She can not bring herself to stop football. Her parents, seeing no future, do not support her. Their reluctance is only a reflection of the mentality of the time.

Reilly does not give up. After winning the first women's Scottish Cup in 1971 with the Stewarton Thistle club, she flew to Reims in 1974 to pursue a professional career.

After six months in the club Champagne, with which she won the first place on the podium in Division 1, she left for Italy and AC Milan, which will be worth an exclusion of the Scottish federation.

It does not matter to Rose: " It was too bad for them. I had moved on to something else. I did not have a big head, but I am pragmatic and realistic. I just said "what are they closed minded" She told the Guardian in 2017.

Scottish and International Italian

In 1980, the footballer will accomplish the feat of playing for two clubs at the same time. Saturday in Lecce, before flying to Reims, with whom she plays on Sunday. That year, she won two championships: in France and Italy.

She will remain twenty years in Italy, her adopted country, and will play for eight different clubs. Rose will eventually even become an Italian international player.

In 1984, she won with Italy the Female Mundialito, an embryo of world competition for the players, during which she scored a decisive goal in the final against Germany (3-1).

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In 2007, she returned to Hall of Fame Scottish sportsmen. An official recognition for one who has never been supported by his family or his original sports nation.

When she remembers the first Scotland-England clash, played by women's teams, Rose confides, nostalgic, at the microphone of FIFA in June 2019 : " It was a fantastic match, a beautiful showcase for women's football ".

While this is the first time that Scotland qualifies for a finals of a women's World Cup, Reilly will not be in Nice Sunday, June 9, to attend the match of his native country against England.

The one that was once banned by its federation has given FIFA a few days of the World Cup: " I only hope that the girls will have a quarter of the passion that I had and that I still have for this sport. I think they will make us proud. "

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