Rachel Williams: From Plasterer to Old Trafford Hero
Rachel Williams isn’t your average footballer. At 35, she’s had a long and impressive career, spending 12 years in the Women’s Super League and clinching the FA Cup in 2012 as part of Birmingham City. But despite her success on the pitch, she still considers plastering her “real job”.
“I’ll go back into plastering when I finish football,” she says. “I love anything DIY, hands-on, or laborious. It comes from my dad and my family. We’ve had to work hard to achieve something, and I still get a kick out of it.”
Williams’ day job may be in plastering, but she’s no slouch on the football pitch. This weekend, she and her Manchester United teammates will be playing at Old Trafford in a crucial Women’s Super League match against West Ham. Williams may not be starting, but her impact off the bench is undeniable – she scored a game-winning goal against Reading in January.
Even now, Williams feels the same joy playing football that she did when she was 15. “I just want to lead by example,” she says. “If people look to me for advice, then of course I’m there. But I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re under pressure. Football is meant to be enjoyed.”
United are currently in second place in the WSL, two points behind Chelsea. If they win, it’ll be their first WSL title and a shot at qualifying for the Champions League. Williams has been there before with Birmingham City, but she knows that the competition is fiercer now. “It would be massive for us,” she says. “We want to get there, and we will.”
Williams’ message to young footballers is clear: work hard, and believe in yourself. “Don’t ever feel like someone will hand you it,” she says. “If someone says you won’t make it, prove them wrong. I was told that ‘women’s football will go nowhere, there’s no point playing football, concentrate on your education’. But I was like ‘no, because if it does, I want to be ready’.”
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