Two years ago, Nicola Docherty would have laughed in your face if you told her she would be named in Scotland’s Women’s World Cup squad.
Midfielder Jo Love was munching granola and watching Homes Under the Hammer when she got the news. And goalkeeper Lee Alexander could feel the tears coming on when manager Shelley Kerr called to tell her.
Kerr made a round of emotional phone calls to those who were picked as well as those who were not and the historic significance of Wednesday’s announcement was not lost on any of those selected as they were confirmed in the 23 who will carry the hopes of the nation in Scotland’s debut finals appearance.
Here, that trio talk about the journey that will take them to France this summer.
- No player going on ’emotion or sentiment’
- Meet Scotland’s World Cup squad
- From borrowed boots to the World Cup
‘I was walking the dog’
Glasgow City defender Docherty has not only clawed her way back into the Scotland squad in 2019, but is now a likely starter in France with Arsenal’s Emma Mitchell excluded.
The 26-year-old was out walking her dog when the call came, and admits there have been plenty of tears after an “impossible” and “unimaginable” dream came true.
“It’s been some of the scariest few months ever,” she said. “When you see your name up there – it’s what you dream of growing up, so I tried to hold back my tears again.”
Docherty describes her international career as being fraught with both ups and downs, referring to a five-year spell without a cap. She returned for the friendly defeat by the United States in November and cemented her place with an outstanding run of performances, particularly at the Algarve Cup.
“It’s such a competitive squad, probably the most we’ve had,” she says. “Everyone played better as they felt under pressure and that’s what you need as we’re going to be under pressure at the World Cup.”
‘I was on my own, eating cereal’
Despite having 191 caps, Love says her inclusion came “out of the blue” and not just because she was “just back from the gym, watching Homes Under the Hammer, eating my cereal”.
“I’m sitting there on my own, a mouthful of granola and tears running down my face,” she says. “Probably not the best way I could have celebrated but it still gives me a lump in my throat.”
The 33-year-old Glasgow City midfielder made her debut alongside Kerr in the 2002 Algarve Cup and is relied upon by her former team-mate for her leadership and experience.
“When I got my first cap 17 years ago I was playing for fun, training twice a week and having the time of my life – multiply that by a million, that’s the stage I’m at just now,” Love says.
“I never thought it would happen but to finally be here, confirmed in the squad, it’s the best day of my career by far.”
‘I could feel tears coming on’
Alexander’s place was in no doubt, given she has been Kerr’s first-choice goalkeeper since Gemma Fay retired in 2017. Nevertheless, confirmation of her selection was still an emotional moment for the Glasgow City player.
“You dream big as a kid and you want to represent your country but being honest, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d get to the World Cup,” the 27-year-old says. “And to then be on the other end of a phone call to say you’re in the squad – I could feel tears coming on.
“To think, 20 years ago when I was sitting watching Scotland in the World Cup in France ’98 thinking this is amazing, now we’re going to France again, but this time I’m going to be there, it’s crazy.”