This article is an excerpt from the Young Lionesses feature from Issue 01 of GAFFER: ‘England’s Finest’. Available from our online shop now.
Taylor Hinds plays as a midfielder for Everton, and has represented England on both the U17s and U19s teams. Having kicked a ball about for as long as she can remember, Taylor credits her parents for seeing talent in her from a young age. Meanwhile, it’s Taylor’s first Arsenal game – and the kit that drowned her – that stands out most as a moment she’ll never forget. The team means the world to Taylor. “We’re such a tight group of girls,” she explains. “Everyone’s just there for each other – we’re like a family.”
How did you fall into football?
I started out playing for a boys team when I was about seven years old because my brother used to play football, so I always used to go to the park and kick about with him and his mates when I was a kid. I started out playing for a boys team when I was about seven years old, before moving to my local women’s team: Northampton Ladies. Next I moved to Arsenal Ladies, and now I play for Everton Ladies. Football has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.
How was it playing for a mixed team?
I really enjoyed it. If I got hurt I never wanted to come off, I always wanted to stay on playing. I was captain as well. My dad was the manager, so he was always a little more lenient with me. Obviously you come across some boys who are like, “oh it’s a girl”, but I didn’t really care because I loved football so much. I ignored what people said because I just wanted to play the sport.
How has women’s football changed since you started playing?
I think it’s developed massively. For example, when I was younger at Arsenal, that’s when I started to familiarise myself with the levels of women’s football. Our women’s team is great at the minute, and I think more girls are starting to see that, and are progressing really well. I think now, we need to promote it more on TV so that girls everywhere are able to see this, and to watch us play.
What’s the football memory that stands out for you most?
My first Arsenal game against Ireland. The kit was massive on me, and the shorts and the T-shirt were so long. But I remember seeing my mum and dad in the crowd and my
Arsenal coach on the side. I didn’t start the game but I managed to come on. It was so good to get on the pitch, and I think I just ran around for the 45 minutes.
How would you describe the atmosphere amongst the team when you’re playing away?
I always love being away and then hate coming back. Obviously we were all away together for so long at the World Cup, and the minute I was home I wanted to be back there. We’re such a tight group of girls. Everyone’s just there for each other – we’re like a family. Everyone has the same goal – to reach the seniors – so we all help one another work towards that goal.
Who is the best female player right now?
That’s way too hard to answer!