Rachel Corsie interview on Women’s Soccer United
Rachel Corsie: “This is the most competitive league I’ve ever been involved in”
After three successful seasons with Seattle Reign, Scotland Women’s National Team captain Rachel Corsie took something of a step into the unknown with her next move. Expansion team Utah Royals FC were brand new to the National Women’s Soccer League and as such, Corsie wasn’t sure what expect on her arrival. It didn’t take the Scot long to realise that she had made the right decision.
“I didn’t know what to expect before I got here” says the 98-times-capped international, “but as soon as I got here I realised how good it was”. The Aberdonian was instantly impressed by her surroundings in the Rio Tinto Stadium and the clubs training facilities. The Royals share the facilities with men’s side Real Salt Lake and Rachel was keen to impress the importance of quality training facilities, “when you train in the best of facilities it can give you an extra few percent and if every player on the team has that extra few percent then it makes a huge difference”.
Corsie has been no stranger to training facilities of late, having battled back from a knee injury which saw her miss a large part of 2017 and eventually required surgery. It wasn’t just the physical aspect of the injury that the defender had to overcome, “the mental side of being injured can be just as difficult, if not more so, than the physical part. I had to work on both to make sure I came back as strong as I could”.
The former Glasgow City player has fought back to fitness to play a part in what has been strong start to life in the NWSL for the Royals. “This is the most competitive league I’ve ever been involved in. The standard is so good that there is real quality in every team”. The standard in the Utah squad is of a high level too, their roster boasts players from 11 different nationalities.
It’s the competitive level across the league that Corsie feels has made her improve as a player, “the speed of the game over here is so much faster and as a defender, I’m playing up against the best forwards in the world”. Such challenges are what drives Rachel though, “this league really challenges you physically but because it’s so tightly contested, every game brings the best out in you”.
The move to Utah saw Rachel reunited with her former Seattle head-coach Laura Harvey, “it’s good for me because I’m familiar with how the head-coach works from our time in Seattle together and she obviously knows how I work too”. The move from the Reign to the Royals wasn’t as big a step as when the Scotland international first moved across the Atlantic but it’s one she has enjoyed, “its been really good to get to know somewhere knew and I really like it here”.
By using the stadium and facilities of Real Salt Lake, Rachel believes that the Royals have benefitted from an infrastructure which was already in place, “I was surprised at just how many people were working at the club and the best thing is, that everyone is on the same path”.
At only 28 years-of-age Corsie is hardly nearing the end of her playing career, but having already obtained a UEFA B Licence for coaching is she preparing for a future in the dug-out? “I’m a trained chartered accountant but the longer I’ve been involved in the game, the less I think I could leave it behind totally when I finish playing”.
She certainly has built up a wealth of experience to call on if she does choose a career in coaching but perhaps a job in the media may lie in wait? “I think it’s really important that women are represented in the media, they need to get women integrated and I think I would like to be part of that”. There is certainly no doubt that Corsie speaks with an eloquence and passion for the game which would not be out of place in the broadcast media.
Long term ambitions will take a back seat in the coming weeks with a busy Utah Royals schedule broken up with a trip back to Scotland. Rachel will join up with her international colleagues for World Cup qualifying matches in June. The captain’s journey to meet up with the squad will be a lot longer than most of her home-based compatriots. It’s a part of the game which doesn’t get mentioned often and isn’t easy for players to adjust to, “it’s difficult because no matter what you do, the time difference and travel catches up on you. I just get on with it and I like to think it doesn’t affect my performance”.
The fact that Rachel Corsie is just two-caps away from a century is a testament to her ability and the high standard she has held over her career up until now. It would be fitting if the captain could lead her country to the World Cup.
In the meantime, Rachel will be concentrating on her club form with Utah as well as trying not to pick up even more of an American accent, “I get stick for it from people at home all the time! As soon as I talk to someone from home the accent disappears and I return to speaking Scottish again”.
Apart from accidentally picking up an American inflection to her voice,Corsie’s time in the States hasalso improved her as a player. Off-the-field she talks about the game with the same passion and poise with which she plays it. It seems that the future is bright for Utah Royals and their Scottish defender.
Interview by Mark Gordon – Follow Mark on Twitter @TheMarkGordon.