Glasgow City and World Cup-bound Scotland defender Nicola Docherty speaks to Sports Editor David Oliver.
She’s fulfilled her early promise and this paper’s prediction as ‘one to watch for the future’ – and then some.
Footballer Nicola Docherty is bound for France and the World Cup - though don’t ask her much more than that, because when national team coach Shelley Kerr broke the news life became a blur. An excited, emotional, noisy blur.
It’s been fast-paced since the news broke just over a week ago too – and there will be little let up before the main event next month.
Amid the training and media commitments and preparations for next week’s big send-off at Hampden when Scotland Ladies meet Jamaica, the Glasgow City defender made some time for the Falkirk Herald who labelled her as one for the future back in 2006.
“I still have that article in my house,” laughed the 26-year-old. “I have kept a lot of them, and so have my mum and dad.”
She added: “I started at Westfield Colts and was the only girl in the boys club. But there was no issues there. I was welcomed in by the coach and could play with the boys fine at that time. Then I got to Falkirk Ladies where Alison Mackie was running things and she gave me the opportunity in the womens’ game.
“That was a great start and I look back at my time in Falkirk with a good positive upbringing in the game.
“But I got to the age where it was time to move on. I still remember the hills at Sunnyside with the Falkirk Ladies pre-season. I’ve still got painful memories from those sessions!”
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From Falkirk then, to France, via a year at Rangers Ladies and then Scottish Champions Glasgow City where Docherty has tasted, and continues to taste, success. It’s taken her to France and one of Scotland’s World Cup venues - the Parc de Princes in Paris - before.
“It is amazing. The pitch is like a bowling green and the stadium is one of the best. It’s one of our venues too.
“[Glasgow] lost in the Champions League but while it’s not nice to lose, there are worse ways to go than PSG. Hopefully I can put it right and we can go a bit better on my next visit.
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“But it will be different going to France on international duty and different again going for a World Cup. I don’t think you can prepare for a World Cup without knowing what’s to come. You can prepare for games, but you can’t prepare for the World Cup.”
Docherty wasn’t prepared for the call when it came from head coach Shelley Kerr, indeed she missed it altogether.
“I was out walking the dog in Queen’s Park in Glasgow. When I got back I wondered what it could be - so I spent some time plucking up the courage to phone her – I wasn’t even sure if I should!
“I did and she told me the good news and that is all I can remember from the call. I screamed, I cried, I did it all but I have no idea what I said back to her - it is all a blur!
“I was still crying at the media announcement at Hamdpen last week. I’d found out the day before. One of the interviewers there suggested we get me sponsored by Kleenex, it was just so emotional and exciting.”
And the messages of congratulations have been plentiful.
“There’s been a lot of congratulations from people who know my family in Falkirk. My mum and dad have shown me their Facebook and my own account keeps going with the notifications.
“They’ve put in the miles for me and with me taking me to training and games since I was six, all over the area and then further afield. They’re always at my games so they are my biggests supporters.”
And now a few airmiles too with Docherty in France from next weekend. The hope is Scotland can ride the crest of the wave they’re on after qualifying and also beating Brazil – a match Docherty was involved in earlier this year – and become the first Scottish senior team to progress from a major tournament’s group stage. The last attempt by the men’s national team also came in France, just before Docherty kicked off with Westfield aged six.
They’ll face Brazil’s South American rivals Argentina, Japan and in the opener, England on June 9.
“We have got the countdown now, and the big send off at Hamdpen next week where we are hoping for as big a crowd as possible and then it’s a few days off before a meet-up again at the start of June and the flight out.
“A lot of media coverage has been given to the England game but we’re not treating it differently. They are all big games, this is the World Cup, it’s all important. Every game is massively important. Every game counts when we are trying to get out of the group and we can if we perform against them all. Every game matters.
“It’s a massive achievment and dream of us all. I don’t think I can imagine what’s to come and finding words, it’s indescribable. But I need to get my head around it.”
Scotland play Jamaica in the SWNT send-off at Hampden next Tuesday. Tickets are £5 and £2.