Lisa Evans looked overseas to realise her career ambitions, but the Scotland midfielder is hoping a future talent drain can be averted.
As Scotland prepare for their maiden European Championship finals campaign in the Netherlands, with a clash against England on Wednesday in Utrecht looming large, Evans wants to see the opportunity seized upon.
She believes the Scottish Women’s Premier League, from which plenty of its leading talent has been creamed off by clubs outside the country, can develop into a stronger competition if head coach Anna Signeul’s side have an impressive tournament and draw in fresh interest.
Sixty-times capped Evans, pictured right, pinpointed the development of the Women’s Super League in England, which enjoyed a spike in attendances after their national team reached the World Cup semi-finals two years ago, as an example of what can be achieved in securing more recognition and growth.
She joined Turbine Potsdam from Glasgow City five years ago, moving on to Bayern Munich in 2015 before recently agreeing a switch to Arsenal.
And while in the short term Evans thinks Scottish players will look to further their careers in other countries, she sees the day coming when domestic stars will not be rushing to leave.
“Domestically, Anna and everyone else involved with the Scottish FA and even the domestic coaches have been pushing to bring the women’s game forward, and it has been brought forward,” Evans said.
“We’ve now got two domestic teams in Hibs and Glasgow City represented in the Champions League and we’ve not had that ever before.
“First and foremost we want to make the domestic league as strong as we can.
“It’s not that we want to encourage people to go out and play abroad. We obviously want our home-grown players to stay in Scotland and be strong in Scotland, but right now the opportunities are abroad I’d say.”
Scotland could benefit from the multi-cultural experiences of their players during the European Championship, with Signeul’s squad featuring players based in Iceland, Sweden, the United States, England, Germany and Italy, as well as at home.
“It’s amazing we have lots of players scattered about everywhere to bring different things to the team. You learn a lot of experiences and it strengthens our team without a doubt,” Evans said.
The 25-year-old is hoping the day will come when Scotland’s top women’s players are recognised just as widely as the men are, and that the Euros mission will bring that closer.
“It’ll definitely help along the way,” Evans said. “You’ve seen the growth in the England football league domestically and obviously they were successful in the World Cup and it’s really helped with their home-grown leagues there.
“We’ll have to wait and see, but obviously that’s what we’re pushing for and it’s definitely the goal.”