A preteen soccer goalie walked away with more than a winning feeling when she received England Women’s goalkeeper Mary Earps’ match gloves at Wembley Stadium on July 31.
Footage recorded by Wai Wan shows 11-year-old Gracie Spratley standing on the sidelines of the pitch at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. England goalkeeper Mary Earps can be seen approaching and handing her gloves to a steward, who hands them to Spratley.
Spratley, who said she has recently started playing goalkeeper for Southampton Women’s FC under-13s team, told Storyful in an interview that she was “well excited” to receive the gift from Earps.
“It gave me a lot more confidence to see the Lionesses win the Euros,” Spratley said, “It gave us that bit more passion for women’s sports and I think it made a lot more people realize that women can play football as well as the men.”
Spratley said she eventually wants to play in goal for England and that watching Earps in action during the match had inspired her. She said: “It just gave me that jolt of ‘I can do this as well,’ like, ’don’t just give up on it, you can still do it’.”
The Lionesses beat Germany 2-1 at Wembley to win the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, the first time in 56 years that England footballers have won a major championship. Credit: Wai Wan and Rob Spratley via Storyful
- So we had a sign. They were kind of doing their, like, lap, like they always do at the end of the pitch. And Mary waved us with the sign, so I'm already really happy. Because I've gotten one thing from her, and that's better than nothing. And then she puts thumbs up at us. And then mom's like, well, should we go, or should we not?
So then a few, like five minutes later, Mary comes running over with the goalie gloves and passed them over to us. I was well excited. I love when-- it just gave me a bit of joy, just brung me tons of happiness, and it gave me a lot more confidence to see the women, like the Lionesses to win the Euro, and then to show that they have that exact power over the men. Because the men, they lost to Italy in the Euro, and then the women coming back and winning the Euro, it kind of gives us that bit more passion in the women's sport.
And I think it made a lot more people realize that women can play football, as well as the men. It really does inspire me by watching that match, especially getting [INAUDIBLE], especially when she made that save multiple times, never didn't even let the ball touch the line. It just gave me that, like, jolt of like, I can do this as well, like don't just give up on it. You can still do it.
Yeah, I want to play for England. I want to be their number one. I want to give my gloves out to somebody or my t-shirt. I just want to do all that. That's my greatest, like my really big-- that's my dream and future I really want to do.