Laura McGinn interview on Women’s Soccer United
McGinn: “We want Gibraltarian girls to know that football is a valid option”
These are exciting times for football in Gibraltar, with the men’s senior side recording back-to-back wins in UEFA Nations League action in October – the first ever competitive victories for a Football Association only affiliated with UEFA since 2013.
Tasked with helping carry that impetus over to the women’s game is British-born Laura McGinn, appointed Women’s Football Manager by the Gibraltar FA (GFA) in July this year.
In an exclusive interview with Women’s Soccer United, McGinn touched on her early impressions of the role, the benefits of mixed football, boosting the numbers of female players and coaches, and her desire to get on board with UEFA’s Together #WePlayStrong campaign.
Women’s Soccer United: Laura, can you tell us a little about the current situation in Gibraltarian women’s football?
Laura McGinn: Well we’ve got three women’s teams at the moment, they all compete in a league, while two of those teams are going to compete in an U16 boys’ league as well, to give them some different games. There are a few girls who play in boys’ teams at younger age levels and we’ve got one all-girls team that plays in a boys’ league too, so we’re getting there [in terms of increasing participation].
WSU: What are you looking to gain from having them play in boys’ leagues? Are there any downsides to this?
LM: I think it’s something that’s a bit different for them: it gives them more matches and the boys have slightly different qualities in terms of speed and strength, so playing against them challenges the girls and gives them something extra to push for.
I think, ideally, we’d want there to be enough teams and for the standard to be high enough for our female players to happily just play in the women’s league, but unfortunately, at the moment, we simply don’t have enough teams.
WSU: Can you tell us about your background, particularly how you came to be involved in women’s football and the path that has led you here?
LM: I’ve always been a football fan and I started playing when I was around 12. Though I never reached a really high level, it was something I always enjoyed – especially the ‘making friends’ part. I played all through my teenage years and later, when I reached University, I got heavily involved in the women’s football club there – mainly on the development side and doing a bit of coaching as well.
After I left Uni I got a job as Football Development Officer at the Worcestershire FA, with the main part of my job there being women’s and girls’ football.
UK-born but currently based in Spain, I’ve been covering men’s and women’s football for UEFA.com for several years, including trips to two Women’s U-19 European Championships