Affectionately known as ‘Big Fish’, American forward Mia Fishel discusses her journey from San Diego to Stamford Bridge, the people who have inspired her, and a little on life away from football.

Fishel plied her trade with Tigres in Mexico before putting pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Blues this summer. This was a dream move for the 22-year-old, who has grown up the supporting the club she now represents.

Born in San Diego, California, Fishel wasted no time taking her first steps in football. Quickly, she realised her love for the game and explains the role a certain coach played in inspiring her to become the best version of herself.

'My parents put me in at three or four years old. My older brother was playing soccer, I was watching him and I was like, ‘I want to do that too as it looks like fun!’ I got into my first competitive team in San Diego and that’s where I fell in love with the game.

'I had a coach who focused on skills, using different moves. All he cared about was us having fun. That was a good foundation for me to grow into the player that I am today.’

Attacking positions have always been where Fishel feels most at home, alternating between the number ten and striker roles, and the feeling of scoring a goal is something our new addition never gets tired of.

'I identified more as a ten, so an attacking midfielder. I wanted to be on the ball and start attacks. When I was younger I was a forward because I was naturally fast and I had an eye for goal. When I got older, I was an attacking midfielder.

'I was very comfortable with the position and then turned into a striker at UCLA. It’s a different role and different challenge, but I find a lot of joy in scoring goals and helping the team to win.’

Those who have supported Fishel on her journey do not go unnoticed. She speaks candidly about the sacrifices her family made to help her reach the top and the impact of her first coach who introduced her to the game.

'My family has been a big inspiration for me. They have supported me as a person, they know how much I love soccer. Getting me to training everyday an hour away from our house. Long days going to tournaments, weekends, my brother and sister had to go to tournaments they didn’t necessarily want to go to!

‘They support everything I’m passionate about and they know I’m passionate about soccer, so I do it for them and I love them so much. My first coach as well, the one that got me into soccer. He’s a big inspiration and I know that I wouldn’t be the player I am without him.’

Away from football, Fishel reveals her love for a pastime appropriate to her nickname. Blessed with the location, she recalls going fishing with her father growing up and relished the experiences she had from an early age.

‘I love fishing! My Dad has taken me since I was five or six years old. You wake up at 4am, get out there at the crack of dawn, spending time with my Dad.

‘I started with freshwater at the lakes near my house. When I got older, I was able to go deep sea fishing with my Dad out in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego. I love the patience and calmness that it brings into my life.'

Mia and the Blues get their WSL title defence underway against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 1 October, with kick-off at 5.30pm (UK time). Click here to secure your seats!