After signing a new contract with Chelsea, forward Lauren James expressed her love for the club and described the feeling of being at home with a team close to her heart.
The 21-year-old played an integral role as we secured the Women’s Super League title for the fourth consecutive year alongside a third successive FA Cup, which saw us claim the domestic double at the end of the 2022/23 campaign.
Earlier today, it was announced that James has put pen-to-paper on a new deal with the Blues until the summer of 2027. Having joined the club at the age of six and represented the Chelsea Academy, there is an strong connection between James and the club she affectionately calls home.
James sat down to discuss her affiliation with Chelsea, her sense of belonging, and how she always knew where she wanted to be. She cited a desire to work under manager Emma Hayes and the overwhelming affection she feels towards the club.
‘I’ve always loved Chelsea. Even when I left and went on a different adventure for a few years, I always knew that I could come back here. I’ve always known that I wanted to play for Emma. I’m happy to be back here.
‘It definitely feels like home and it’s always been the place I’ve wanted to be at. It’s hard to put into words how much a club can mean to someone, but it’s a club that I love.’
As we recognise another significant milestone in her career, James took us back to where it all began. She explained where her passion for football originated and how a love for the game motivated her to aspire for big things.
‘My love of football came from being around it all the time, kicking a ball at the side of the pitch constantly every day. Before you know it you’re playing in tournaments and games, you start to get bigger and older and then it’s your job.
‘I never really had the moment of thinking that this is what I want to do. It’s all I’ve ever known and it’s something I just did, but having the love for it helps you have the hunger because it’s hard to make it to the top.’
At only 21, James embraces the idea of being a role model for the next generation. She wants to provide support to young players who dream of following in her footsteps and outlined the ambitions she has for club and country.
‘I want to be there for them to look up to and be there for them if they want advice. When I was younger, I went through some situations that have helped me today. They helped me to grow and develop as a person.
‘The aim is to go to the World Cup, it’s a dream to win the World Cup and to win the Champions League with Chelsea. I want to continue working hard and show what I can do on the pitch. Hopefully, the dream comes true this summer!’