Rachel Corsie, who is one of the leading candidates to be next Scotland captain under new head coach Shelley Kerr, says Anna Signeul’s 12 years at the helm transformed the fortunes of women’s football.
Corsie, who made her 91st appearance in Thursday night’s 1-0 Euro 2017 win over Spain, said: “Anna’s contribution has been phenomenal. Those of us involved have witnessed the amazing job she has done.
“She opened up channels for everyone to be a professional, and do things they probably could never have done had she not been in this country. She set the standards, and pushed and pushed and pushed.”
Former Glasgow City skipper Corsie, a qualified chartered accountant, is now heading back to her club, Seattle Reign, for the remainder of the National Women’s Soccer League season.
She was outstanding in the win against Spain, the first-ever for the side in a major championship following disappointing defeats to England and Portugal.
A second goal would have taken the Scots into a quarter-final against Austria today, but despite the scoreline Spain dominated the match for long periods. As in their previous match against England, they couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the net.
The win restored some pride for the injury-ravaged Scotland squad. Their problems increased when top scorer Jane Ross damaged shoulder ligaments early in the second half of the opening game against England and took no further part in the Group D matches. Signeul’s selections also came under scrutiny. Outstanding Chelsea teenager Erin Cuthbert didn’t appear until the second half of the second game – and responded with Scotland’s first major championship goal within minutes of coming on against Portugal. She was also involved in the lead-up to Caroline Weir’s in the Spain game despite being played out of position as a lone striker.
Corsie looked more comfortable when moved back to her club position of central defender against Spain. She was the holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation in the two previous games despite being unable to shake off a persistent knee problem.
“It was a difficult two weeks,” she admitted. “I wasn’t able to train so much between the games and there have been a few sleepless nights. You’ve got to push through and I always felt when I was on the pitch I was able to give my all.
“That was important for the team – I would never have done it otherwise. I’m proud I had the opportunity to play in all three games and I’m glad we came away with a win in the end because it gives us something to build on.”
The 27-year-old Aberdeen fan wore the armband in a 2-0 win over England six years ago, but only because long-time captain Gemma Fay was rested. The goalkeeper is now expected to retire from international football with a record 203 Scotland caps.
Central defender Ifeoma Dieke and Glasgow City captain Leanne Ross, who are both 36, are likely to do the same. Others who have been cemented into Signeul squads for many years may also find Kerr wants a fresh approach.
Scotland’s next competitive game is the opening 2019 World Cup qualifier away to Belarus in October.