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Joelle Murray: "I'm proud to have played my part in progressing the Scottish game"

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  • Joelle Murray recently called time on her playing career after racking up over 500 appearances for Scottish side Hibernian

  • 48-time Scotland international was one of a number of footballers who took part in FIFPRO’s recent Women's Player Summit

  • Murray talks about the growth of the women’s game in Scotland and her post-playing plans as she embarks on a new chapter

Hibernian captain Joelle Murray recently called time on her playing career after 20 years and 507 appearances for the Edinburgh club.

The defender, 37, hangs up her boots as the club’s all-time appearance holder and has continually strived to advance the women’s game in Scotland both on and off the pitch.

Murray has witnessed first-hand the enormous growth of women’s football since making her debut back in 2004.

"When I first started, we trained twice a week and it was probably acceptable to make one of those training sessions," reflects Murray, speaking to FIFPRO. "Fast forward to today's game, we've got fantastic facilities, we’ve got financial support and resources that surround clubs like Hibs. The changes have I’ve witnessed in my career have been tenfold.

"I always get asked if I wish I started my career ten years later, but I'm proud and privileged to have played a pioneering part in the game. I wouldn't change my career. There have been many highs, many lows, but I'm a firm believer that all these life experiences shape the player and shape the person.

"I'm proud to have played the part I've played within the progression of the Scottish game."

Advancing women’s football

Murray, capped 48-times by Scotland, was one of a number of footballers who participated in FIFPRO’s Women’s Player Summit ahead of the UEFA Women’s Champions League final in Bilbao last month.

The summit provides an opportunity to get direct feedback from players on issues that affect their industry, as well as sharing best practice and discussing strategic opportunities to work collaboratively towards the future of the women’s game.

"It was insightful hearing from other players in different countries, experiences both domestically and with their national teams," said Murray. "It’s important to hear what other countries are doing in certain areas within the women's game. Hopefully, between players and union representatives, we can take that back to our respective countries and implement them for the betterment of the game."

The summit enabled players to engage on a host of industry topics and one area in particular that caught Murray’s attention was the differing degrees of professionalisation in the women’s game across Europe.

She said: "It was eye-opening hearing the varying situations from countries that are still within an amateur status, countries that are fully professional, and countries that fall within a hybrid model.

"As a footballer playing in Scotland, we want to strive towards that fully professional status across the game, which in turn would – and should – hopefully make the competition a lot closer when it comes to competitive games."

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Murray (left) with PFA Scotland's Heather Richards

Preparing for the next chapter

Since making her Hibernian debut two decades ago, Murray went on to establish herself as a leader at the club. She was the first Hibs Women’s player to sign a professional contract back in 2020 and led her team out for an historic game at Easter Road against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

After her playing retirement, Murray is now ready to embrace the next chapter of her career, one which will not stray far from Hibernian.

"I will replace the playing side of things with a coaching role, so I'll work closely with the manager, Grant Scott, and I'll see the girls regularly throughout the week and during matchdays.

"I’m also fortunate to have been presented with various media opportunities both within the club and externally. Hopefully I can continue supporting off the pitch as much as I did on the pitch."