England set out to inspire the nation, says winning goalscorer Chloe Kelly

3 August 2022 0 By Total Football News

England hero Chloe Kelly says the Lionesses set out to "inspire the nation" and is proud they achieved that by becoming European champions.

Kelly's celebration after scoring the winner against Germany in extra time at Wembley on Sunday has become the iconic image of England's historic victory.

Kelly hopes their legacy will be making football more accessible for everyone.

"It is huge and I hope people now see it as just football, everyone is included," she told BBC Sport.

"We are just enjoying ourselves and playing the game everyone loves.

"It's massive and women's empowerment is huge; this summer has been excellent for that and has shaped the future for us as well."

The Manchester City forward thanked the players who paved the way for this England side and said is it now their turn to "shape the future for the next generation".

Kelly also wants to maintain the momentum of interest in the women's game and has called on fans to watch the Women's Super League when it kicks off in September.

But the 24-year-old says that can be helped by not scheduling men's Premier League games at the same time, and referenced the Women's FA Cup final in which her Manchester City side featured at the same time their male counterparts were playing West Ham.

"Not having games at the same times as men's, where it clashes and a fan has to decide between what game they are watching - that is the biggest thing for me," she added, speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

In less than 24 hours, 65,000 tickets have been sold for the Lionesses' game against World champions USA at Wembley on 7 October.

A 'turning point' for school football?

Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo: After school I would tag along with a boys' team

Following a report that claimed 44% of secondary schools in England offer girls equal access to football in PE lessons, Kelly also hopes England's success can be a turning point.

She grew up playing cage football with her five brothers and their friends, while also playing in the boys' school football team and at QPR.

"You also want to be in an environment where you are comfortable and that is massive for young girls," Kelly said.

"There will be a massive turning point from this summer. The girls, as a group, we want to make a change and if we can do that, that is massive. Girls being able to do what they love, no matter the quality, let's go and play."

England goalkeeper Mary Earps added: "I'm having so many messages from so many people saying how great it was and how their daughter especially, but sons too, are in the garden practising their goalkeeping or playing football.

"That is what we want. We want girls to have access. Football is the best sport in the world, everyone just wants to play."

Earps added that football "absolutely should be on the curriculum" and says she was fortunate to attend schools that were "quite facilitating".

"I was also quite stubborn, playing football with the boys," the 29-year-old told BBC Breakfast. "Girls and boys were separated; girls played netball and tennis, which were seen as more 'feminine' sports.

"Women can do whatever we want. We need to break out of the boxes and moulds people have been putting us in for years. We can achieve great things."

Forward Alessia Russo said: "One turning point from this tournament is to make sure these girls have access not just for the next few years, but for the rest of their lives."

'Excited for future of women's sport'

Kelly ripping off her shirt after scoring the winner will be the enduring image of this Euros; it evoked memories of Brandi Chastain's similar iconic celebration for USA in the 1999 World Cup final against China.

Kelly says she has spoken to the American, while also acknowledging the moment has caused a spike in sports bra sales.

"Every women's footballer knows of that moment, it's an incredible moment," explained Kelly. "It is huge for women, it is huge for women in sport, and I am really excited for what the future holds for women in sport, but also women.

"I don't think it has sunk in yet how much has changed just from one celebration, one goal, but the biggest thing is the team has been incredible this summer and I enjoyed every moment because it is such a special group.

"The sports bra sales going through the roof, that's amazing - just from one moment! That just shows what women can do.

"To inspire the nation this summer was what we set out to do and I am very proud to be part of a great group that did that. Dream big!"

This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/62404195?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA