Fiona Brown helped Scotland's Women's Football team make history last week when they beat Albania to ensure first-ever participation in next year’s women’s World Cup in France. Fiona now has 31 Scotland Caps but it hasn't been an easy road for the Dunblane lass as you will see from her story below.
As a child, I ran about like a headless chicken, usually after my brother. I tried everything and anything - tennis, golf, squash, athletics and gymnastics. I started to play football aged 6 when Active Stirling started a girls football session at my school (Dunblane Primary). I loved every minute and was desperate to join a team, but there was nothing for girls in the local area. The coach of the active schools sessions (after persistent begging from me) started a girls section at local club- Newburgh. I was aged for under 11’s but played in the u13’s league and completely caught the bug. Being the most competitive kid you will ever meet, being half the size of everyone else just added to the challenge. The club later reformed as Stirling Girls and was run by volunteers, most of whom were parents. Later, naturally with age some of the girls lost interest, numbers became lower and we all transferred to Stenhousemuir F.C Girls section. I played there for two years at U15 level, and it was around this time I realised that this is what I wanted to do. I remember telling my mum aged 13 that I wanted to be a professional footballer, not sure how she managed to keep a straight face!
Aged 14, I was given a ‘Regional Trial’ by the Scottish FA. Still playing at Stenhousemuir, who, at the time were one of the weaker teams, over achieving in a league of top clubs, this was a huge thing for me. After a successful regional trial, I joined the central region and later that year received my first Scotland cap at u15 level against Wales. A dream come true. Afterwards, I was asked to join Celtics youth academy, and being a 14 year old Celtic fan, it was an easy decision. Looking back now, I have my parents and brother to thank for everything. An easy decision for me meant 3 nights training 7-9pm in Glasgows west end as well as a game on a Sunday, which could be just about anywhere in the country. I don’t think I would have been able to achieve anything that I have if my parents hadn’t given it so much of their time or if my brother wasn’t so selfless. This was the age I missed out on a lot of social things with my friends, it was a hard for other people to understand why I was putting in the time and sacrifices for a game, but now I’m so glad I did. I also had a very supportive group of friends throughout my school years.
At U15 level at Celtic, we were hugely successful and had one of the best teams of our age group at the time. We won both cups and the league title that year, going undefeated in the league too. The next year, I was asked to join the first team at Celtic, aged 15 it was probably too soon, but it was a huge learning experience for me. I also moved up to U17 with Scotland reaching the Elite round of the European Championships two years running. In my second season at Celtic first team, unfortunately I suffered an ACL injury, which ultimately ended in surgery and a year on the sidelines. This was hard for me, as everything had gone so well up until that point.
In 2012, I was selected for The SFA National Performance Centre. This was a scholarship programme that allowed me to complete my university degree while having individual training every morning and club training at night. After returning from injury, I found form and was asked to join Glasgow City FC. I also moved up to u19 level at Scotland. During three successful seasons at Glasgow City, winning 2 League Cups, 2 Scottish Cups and 3 League Titles as well as reaching the quarter finals of the Champions League and the finals of the U19 European Championships, I received my first full International Cap, playing in a 3-0 win against Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, in the middle of all of this, another ACL injury kept me sidelined for yet another 9 months.
After playing Eskilstuna DFF, a Swedish team in the Champions League with Glasgow City, I was offered my first full professional contract. Moving out to Eskilstuna in 2017 was a huge step for me. It was in fact the best move of my career. Continuing to play with the Scottish Women’s National Team, we reached and competed at the European Championships in Holland, the first time in history. At the end of my first season in Sweden, I was asked to join F.C Rosengård. One of the best teams in Europe, I couldn’t turn it down.
This year, we have qualified for the World Cup. Probably the pinnacle of my career to this point. I hope to have a gold medal to add to the collection at the end of this domestic season too!