Women in sports | Morgan Hunter
My name is Morgan Hunter and a lot of people from my hometown probably know me as “Morgan with the long hair that plays football”. Well, that used to be the case! I still have long hair, but I no longer kick a ball. I hung the boots up at the start of 2021 after 21 years of playing the beautiful game. I started playing football when I was around 6 years old. Having a football daft dad was probably the reason for this, but I genuinely was just a different little girl. I loved climbing trees, playing on my bike, rollerblading, skateboarding, you name it I’ve done it! My mum often called me “a boy in drag” because I wasn’t your average little girl.
I joined a team called Galston Boys Club, yep back in 2000 we girls had to play for a boys’ team. Why? There wasn’t a single female football club in Ayrshire at that time. I played football for Galston Boy’s Club, where there were only 2 girls on the team, myself and my best friend Alana. We played there until we were 12 years old and that’s when we had to part ways, moving to Kilmarnock Ladies Football Club. That was the very first time I ever played football with other girls, at 12 years old. Madness!
At 12 years old (2006), I had been playing football for 6 years and not once had I seen a female football team play locally, never mind on the TV. I had watched the Kilmarnock Ladies 1st team train at my local park but never watched them play. Women’s football was scoffed at. “It’s a man’s sport”, “you must be gay if you play football” (well, they got one thing right...), “women’s football isn’t the same as men’s”. The hostility towards women’s football growing up was rife. Although this was the case, my focus never wavered. I honestly didn’t care what people thought because football was my escape and my biggest love in life! It was my identity. The comments only fuelled my desire to be the best and make it a success. And in 2017 after 11 years at Kilmarnock and many relegation battles later, we gained promotion back into the Scottish Women’s Premier League. That was one of the best moments of my footballing career. The final whistle blew at Rugby Park and it was time to celebrate. I have never felt elation like it, it was everything I had ever worked towards. Every single training session, every single party decline, every single “I’m not drinking, I’ve got football tomorrow” all lead up to this one single moment. And every single bit of it was worth it. I started out as a striker at 12 years old and that season I won Player of the Year as a goalkeeper at 23 years old. It was my favourite footballing season and one of my fondest memories.
After the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, this is where the attitude towards women’s football began to shift. Scotland had qualified for their first-ever World Cup and you could feel the excitement of the nation in the buildup. Myself and my fiancée actually flew to Nice, France to be there for Scotland’s first-ever World Cup match against England. The atmosphere was incredible and it’s an experience I’ll never forget (although I would like to forget the score). I do believe the World Cup was the catalyst for change. People began to sit up and take notice for the first time. 2 years later, there’s women’s football on BT Sport. BT Sport!? That’s where all of the men’s games are broadcast and now the women are being given that same exposure. Now, if you’d told me that was going to happen 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you!
For any young female footballer now, they have all the opportunities we never had growing up. They have professionally set up football teams, better facilities, and a lot more progression pathways.
All I would say to those young girls is, grab every opportunity you possibly can with both hands. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something, because everything every successful person has, they were born with. It just takes hard work, relentless determination, and commitment to achieve success!