After her impressive performances at this year’s Women’s World Cup, Fran Kirby earned herself a move to WSL side Chelsea Ladies. Unfortunately she played no part in the side that won the Women’s FA Cup. She did however score on her Chelsea debut within 15 minutes of being subbed on.
Kirby joined her hometown club Reading at the age of seven and made her way through the youth team. She caught the eyes of a lot of coaches and went on to make her Reading debut at the age of 16.
Sadly, Kirby’s mother passed away two years prior to her debut in 2008 when she was just 14. Her mother was a massive influence on her career taking her to all the games and training sessions. The sudden loss triggered depression and just a year after her debut, she quit football.
Kirby returned to women’s football in 2012, once again with Reading Ladies. In the 2012-2013 season, she became the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division’s top scorer with a fantastic 32 goals in 21 appearances.
Reading Ladies had been promoted and were placed into the newly-formed Women’s Super League 2. Kirby set the league alight with some mesmerising performances. She was one of the hottest young prospects in the women’s game, and was being tipped for big things.
Reading finished in third place and Kirby was a vital component to this success. She once again showed her goalscoring touch as she finished the season with 24 goals in just 16 appearances. This included three hat-tricks against Durham, Watford, and Doncaster, as well as netting four against London Bees.
Unsurprisingly, the 22-year-old finished the 2014 season as WSL2’s top scorer and at the 2014 FA Women’s Awards, Kirby was named the WSL2 Players’ Player of the Year. She became the first player to win the award.
Such was her impressive form, the striker became the first women’s player to receive a professional contract from Reading.
Her form throughout the 2014 campaign didn’t go unnoticed. In June 2014, she became the first WSL2 player to be called into the senior England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Ukraine. The Englishwoman was unused in both games and would have to wait until August 2014 before making her international debut.
Mark Sampson recalled the Reading striker into his squad to face Sweden at Victoria Park and Kirby stepped up on the big stage. She scored on her international debut, netting the second goal in a 4-0 win.
Following her impressive debut, Kirby remained in the England squad. She put in a man of the match display against USA in February and looked set to make Sampsons’ World Cup squad.
It comes as no surprise that Kirby was one of the best English players at the World Cup. She scored in the 2-1 win over Mexico and put in a handful of impressive, selfless performances.
Her performances earned her a move to Chelsea Ladies, where under the only women’s manager in the WSL, Emma Hayes, she will be expecting to win trophies.