Lionesses goalkeeper Mary Earps reveals she almost ‘quit’ football before being selected for England Women’s team

“I had given football a good go, but wasn't quite good enough”

Mary Earps
(Image credit: Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

The Lionesses goalkeeper Mary Earps has shared that she almost ‘quit’ football before she was selected to play for the England Women’s team in 2020.

The Lionesses are smashing it at the 2023 Women's World Cup this year. With the final set for tomorrow morning [10am, Sunday 20 August] when the England Women's team will play Spain for the honour of holding up the World Cup, many fans want to know more about the team, with questions like who does Beth Mead play for and where is she from and are wondering why they haven't been wearing white shorts during their recent games. The curiosity extends further though and fans are also desperate to find out more about the team's head coach Sarina Weigman, like is she married and does she have kids?

But as fans of the Lionesses prepare to sing Sweet Caroline once more, many people have been shocked to find out that the team's goalkeeper Mary Earps, who currently holds the title of FIFA's best goalkeeper of the year, nearly gave up on her football career entirely in 2020. 

Nottingham-born Mary has revealed that after she failed to be selected for the England team in September 2020, she 'sank to her kitchen floor and cried' as she resigned herself to the fact that her career was over.

Following England's FIFA win, she told the BBC, "To be honest I never thought I would get back to [being the number one goalkeeper]. I didn't think I would be in a squad for a major tournament again, let alone playing a final against Germany at Wembley.

"I can vividly remember the days of feeling really down. I got to a point where I felt I had sort of reached my limits. I had given football a good go, but wasn't quite good enough. I had responsibilities, I had a mortgage and it wasn't adding up. Eventually I decided to give it just a couple more years."

Thankfully, Mary kept going. Just two years later, and with the help of the team's then-new manager, Sarina Wiegman, she was back in goal and winning games for England's Lionesses.

She continued, "Then Sarina came in, in the September [2021] and life changed just like that. I felt that she really understood where I came from and had real empathy for me as a human being. That is not something I've experienced a lot in football.

"I like her directness, her honesty and I can't really express how much she has changed my career really. This whole year has just changed everything.

"When Sarina came in and picked me for the squad, I just thought I’d go, do my best and have no expectations. The way it all went… I could never have written it in a million years."

She may be the world's best goalkeeper, but Mary comes from humble beginnings. She told GQ Magazine that she decided she wanted to be a footballer after playing the game with her brother and dad at home in her garden and then joined a local club in her native Nottingham. She shared how her 'supportive' parents took the time to take her to matches and training and were always her biggest fans.

She told the publication, "I was playing a local Saturday match and saved a penalty. Goalkeeping is a very individual position. I never wanted to do anything else."

Her parents were the first people she spoke following her nomination for FIFA's Best Award too. She told BBC Sport, "I was blown away [to be nominated]. There aren't loads of awards around for goalkeepers. I texted my mum and dad straight away. They humbly replied with just 'well done'. It was a standard Earps family reply, super chilled.

"It's really nice and the real icing on the cake. It doesn't happen often and it never really happens to me so I forget [these awards] exist in a way. To be named on the shortlist, it came out of the blue, and it was really cool."

In other celebrity news, Victoria Beckham has revealed the reason she fell in love with husband David, and we've revealed more about Scooter Braun, as A list clients Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber reportedly drop the music manager.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.