Hannah Godfrey: From the States to our stadium... via Scotland!
Wed 13 November 2019, 20:19|Tottenham Hotspur
At the end of last season, Hannah Godfrey was in a quandary.
After spending the past four years in America and having just secured the Women’s Premier Soccer League title with Florida-based Pensacola FC, the defender wondered where her career would take her next.
Originally from Lancashire, she spent time with Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City’s Development Squad as a youngster before making the decision to cross the Atlantic.
Now it was time, once more, to consider her future.
Her decision? To go home to England.
Within weeks of returning, Spurs Women moved to sign her up ahead of our debut season in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
Fast forward to now – November, 2019 – and to say that decision has been vindicated would be an understatement. A stand-out performer in the early stages of our campaign, she’s played every minute for us in the WSL so far including impressive outings at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and West Ham’s London Stadium, where she was named Player of the Match for a fantastic display at the heart of our back line.
Last week, she earned her first international call-up for Scotland, came straight in to start and scored on her debut in a 5-0 victory in Albania in Euro qualifying.
Now she’s back here at the Club and ready to hit her next target – taking on Arsenal in the first-ever north London derby to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“Everyone that knows me back in America never thought I was coming home initially,” the 22-year-old revealed as she looked ahead to Sunday’s historic clash in N17, tickets for which are available now. “I hadn’t planned to come home and then I thought ‘you know what? Let’s just go home and see what happens’.
“I didn’t really have much lined up but I had a few goals in mind – eventually I’d be in the WSL, so I thought I’d work towards that, I’d work towards the national team – and all of a sudden, within four months it’s all just happened at once! I didn’t expect (to play for Scotland) this soon. I always knew that international football was one of my main goals and I just knew that I had to get my head down, keep working hard and hopefully that would come eventually. I was hoping that it would come at some point in my career but not this soon.”
Hannah was rested for Spurs Women’s last outing – a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace in the Continental League Cup on 3 November. Then, out of the blue, Scotland came calling: “Last week was definitely a crazy week, it was pretty much a whirlwind to be honest!” she explained. “I got the phone call around 1pm and then that was me on a flight at around six o’clock, even though I was two hours to the airport and nearly missed my flight. I had to take it as a big learning curve and not having as much of a heads-up or not having time to think about it helped me because it didn’t give me a chance to realise how big this opportunity was.
“I Facetimed my mum straight away – she was the first person that I told and she was speechless, she was crying, absolutely over the moon. She’s where my Scottish roots come from so this was a really proud moment for me but for my mum especially, this was massive for her. I’m sure she’s been crying for seven days straight! Honestly, she’s my biggest fan. Everything I do, every time I play, it’s for her and I just want to make her proud.”
The centre-back certainly did that, playing the full 90 minutes in Elbasan last Friday and bundling home Scotland’s fourth goal on the night.
“Straight away the other girls made me feel comfortable, so that helped me going out onto the pitch,” Hannah said. “I did honestly feel relaxed – a lot more relaxed than I expected for my first national team call-up. Once I got the ball down and had the ball at my feet, I was fine. People keep asking me how I was so high up the field (for the goal) because that doesn’t usually happen to me but I can’t really put it into words. I’m still struggling to remember it. I don’t really remember the flight there to be honest! I’m not exaggerating, I’ve been on cloud nine all week. To start was a massive thing for me, to get my first cap and then the ball finally gets in the back of the net – it doesn’t matter how it crosses the line, it still went in so hopefully this is just the start.”
Hannah’s full focus has now turned to this weekend’s historic clash with the Gunners at our world-class new stadium. It’ll be the third major Premier League venue Spurs Women have played in already this season and the defender wants to ensure it’s a memorable day for everyone of a Spurs persuasion, with thousands of fans set to turn out, including many who won’t have had the opportunity to experience a Spurs Women game live and in person before.
“As soon as I got back I just wanted to get back into training with the girls and get a ball at my feet,” she said. “I’d missed the girls a lot and I was just excited to be working with them again. The quality and the intensity I’ve experienced has given me a lot more drive and motivation to make sure that I get everything out of every session and just give 100 per cent.”
Kick-off on Sunday is at 3pm. Tickets are on sale now, but won’t be available at the stadium on the day, so secure yours now to avoid disappointment.
Hannah wasn’t the only member of the Spurs Women squad to have enjoyed success over the international break.
Megan Wynne made her full debut for Wales against Northern Ireland on Tuesday evening, starting alongside Josie Green – and they found themselves up against team-mate Rachel Furness as three Spurs players lined-up in the Euro 2021 qualifier in Belfast. It ended goalless at the Seaview Stadium as all three completed the 90 minutes to leave Wales second in the group behind leaders Norway. It was Rachel’s second cap of the week having played 84 minutes as Norway beat Northern Ireland 6-0 in Stavanger on Friday. Norway have won four out of four.
On the other side of the world, Ria Percival played twice for New Zealand in an invitational four-team tournament in Yongchuan, China. New Zealand finished fourth after playing well but failing to take their chances in a 2-0 loss against the hosts on Thursday before being beaten 3-0 by Canada in the third place play-off on Sunday. Ria completed a full shift in both games.
Elsewhere, full-back Lucia Leon earned her first call-up to the Spanish Women’s National Under-23 Team, taking part in a training camp in Las Rozas, Madrid.