Our latest addition, Scottish international Jamie-Lee Napier, spoke to us upon her move to Chelsea FC Women…
This week Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes added to her already talented squad by signing 19-year-old Jamie-Lee Napier from Hibernian Ladies on a contract until 2021.The Glaswegian has recently been recognised as the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 Player of the Year and is a dynamic, fast-paced wide player who netted 22 goals in 33 appearances for Hibernian.Napier is honoured to sign her first professional contract with Chelsea and is looking forward to the new challenge ahead…What do you hope to achieve at Chelsea? ‘This is my first professional contract so I just want to learn and improve in training and by playing with some of the best players in the world.‘I think that’s good for me being a young player because I can learn off of them, so one of my main things here is to learn and improve and keep getting better each day. Also I want to help this team get more silverware as well so that’s another aim.’Was it a hard decision to move to London from Scotland? ‘In some ways because I’m really close with my friends and my family. Leaving them behind, it’s a long distance but they are going to support me and this is something I want to do so I just took it with both hands.’You can play full-back and on the wing, where do you feel is your best position?‘To be honest I prefer mostly to attack but I’d say one of my strengths is that I’m quite versatile so anywhere on the pitch I’ll play and I’ll do my best in that role.’Describe yourself as a player in three words.‘I’d say I’m athletic, hard-working and versatile!’
Emma Hayes is recognised as one of the best coaches in the women’s game. How exciting is the prospect of learning from her?‘I’m delighted, she’s a really good coach, she knows what she’s talking about. She’s also got a funny side, she’s got banter, but she’s also serious as well.‘I think in that sense we’ll get on because I’m similar, so yeah I’m really looking forward to working under Emma and I think she will really improve me as a player and a person.’What can Chelsea fans expect from you? ‘They can expect that I’ll give my all for the club. As I said I’m really hard-working and I fight to the very end so they know they are going to have someone who is going to work hard for them.’Did you know Erin Cuthbert before signing? If so, did she help you with the decision to sign for Chelsea?‘Me and Erin have been really good friends for a number of years now so when I was deciding and this move was happening I was speaking to her a lot about it. She was just informing me of things and telling me how professional this club is.‘It was a no-brainer really. When Chelsea come in for you there is really only one answer.’As Erin is a fellow Scot who has been successful at Chelsea and in the WSL, is she someone you look up to?‘Of course. Erin has been really successful since she moved to Chelsea both for club and internationally so I’m looking to follow in her footsteps for both. I’m hoping to get my place in the women’s A squad – it’s another aim of mine.’Who in the Chelsea squad are you are looking forward to playing with?‘I think every player in this squad is exciting to watch but I really like watching Ramona Bachmann play, Erin Cuthbert, Fran Kirby, they are all really exciting players.‘I think Millie [Bright] is a great character and she’s been really good with me when I came and made me feel really welcome. The whole group of girls are a great group and I’m really looking forward to getting in and working with them.’
WSL is one of the best, if not the best league in the world. How important is it to adapt quickly?‘I think it’s a massive jump from the Scottish league going into the WSL but it’s a challenge that I want to take and I think playing against some of the best players in the world is only going to improve me even more.‘That’s what you need to do to improve and learn, play against the best and I’m really looking forward to the challenge that awaits.’What’s your greatest football achievement so far?‘I have got a few. Recently I just won the SWPL 1 Player of the Year and that was massive for me, it just tops off what a season me and my team-mates have had.‘Also getting my first senior call-up to the women’s A squad at such a young age was a massive achievement for both me and my family, a very proud moment and something I want to add on to.’The first opportunity to see Napier in action could come in the first game back after the festive break against Reading, in the Women’s Super League on Sunday 5 January at Kingsmeadow.Tickets for the match can be purchased here.