When Northern Ireland women’s football is mentioned in conversations, the first player many people would think about is Everton striker Simone Magill, writes Josh Bunting.
Magill (25) became the first player from Northern Ireland to sign a full-time pro deal in the women’s game when she penned her contract at Everton and the forward also holds a world record for the quickest goal scored at international level.
An ambassador at the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Magill is currently showing support for their emergency appeal by running a competition on her Facebook page and twitter account.
— Simone Magill (@SimoneMagill) April 12, 2020
Magill said: “In tough times at the moment, the hospice needs all the support as it’s funded by donations. I’m an ambassador and I wanted to play my part in giving something back. I want to use my time as wisely as possible.”
The Toffees’ striker is giving away three pair of boots and a Northern Ireland shirt in a real act of kindness during the Covid-19 crisis.
Talking about the season and her highlight from it so far, she said: “The Derby at Anfield against Liverpool – it was an amazing weekend for attendances and we got the result, so that was a bonus.”
Everton claimed the Merseyside bragging rights thanks to a long-range effort from Lucy Graham.
With the ongoing situation, when asked how she was training, Magill responded: “We all have a programme from Everton that we follow, I do a home workout with club equipment and I also have a bike at home, so I don’t have to go out that often.”
Since her move to Goodison Park, the striker has been a real fans favourite and picked up the player of the year last season, adding to her fans player of the year in 2014/15.
She has 55 international caps and speaking on her time in a Green Jersey, she said: “My favourite memory for Northern Ireland would have to be scoring the quickest ever goal against Georgia – inside 11 seconds.”
That game took place on 3 June 2019 at Solitude – home of Cliftonville – where Magill turned in a cross after a mazy run from Avilla Bergin.
She beat USA World Cup winner Alex Morgan’s previous record by one second, and to this day still holds the record.
Route into football
Magill praised her older brother and says that’s how she got into football: “I used to play with my older brother when I was about four and fell in love with the game, then I played football with the boys in school before joining an all-boys football club, and that’s how my journey into football began.”
She then moved to Mid-Ulster Ladies, where she was eventually spotted by Everton.
In her time in the Northern Irish Women’s Premiership, Magill finished the 2012 season as the league’s top scorer with 18 goals and also won the league player of the year award.
Asked to then name her dream 5-a-side team, the forward admitted it was difficult to pick just five but did come up with this selection;
Goalkeeper – Ann-Katrin Berger, Defender – Laura Rafferty, Midfielders – Rachel Furness & Inessa Kaagman, Striker – Simone Magill.