Mary Earps W11 2023 4

Mary Earps: "Life changed for me when Sarina Wiegman arrived as England manager"

Player story

Share this quote

Mary Earps W11 2023 4
  • Mary Earps was named in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 by women’s football players across the globe

  • The Manchester United and England stopper was the most-voted player in the women’s team of the year

  • “It means a great deal to feel like you have the respect of your peers,” said Earps

2023 was a year packed with individual awards for goalkeeper Mary Earps: Women’s World Cup Golden Glove, WSL Golden Glove, The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper and even BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

On the evening of 15 January 2024, at the FIFA Football Awards in London, England, Earps added to her already-impressive haul of accolades by winning once again The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper and, for the first time, being a FIFA FIFPRO World 11 winner at the age of 30.

Her fellow professionals ranked the Manchester United and England stopper so highly that she was the most-voted player in the Women’s World 11; out of the 6,075 women’s football players who voted, 45 percent selected Earps.

FIFPRO caught up with Earps to discuss being recognised by her peers, how “life changed quite dramatically” with the arrival of England manager Sarina Wiegman in 2021, and which legendary goalkeeper made a lasting impression.

FIFPRO: Mary, congratulations on making the FIFA FIFPRO World 11. How does it feel to be voted into the world team of the year by your peers?

Mary Earps: It’s an incredible feeling and a real privilege to be voted into the World 11 by your peers. I know from playing with my team-mates how difficult it is to impress them, so for them to vote for me is special. It means a great deal to feel like you have their respect or that they respect your contributions to the game and to the industry; they value your performances in terms of contributing to team results, so it means a great deal.

Your England team-mate Lucy Bronze made her sixth appearance in the Women’s World 11, something which few players have achieved. What is she like as a player and person?

‘Bronzey’ is a very interesting character; she’s unique. On the pitch, she’s focused. She drives standards. She leads the team and is always ensuring that the team gets the result. She’s very driven, and I think that’s why she's had so much success over the years. She must be one of the most decorated female footballers ever; I've lost count of all the trophies that she has won. She’s a fantastic player and has been a fantastic player for many, many years.

2023 was a big year for you personally. When you reflect on your career, do you think there's a particular moment where everything clicked and things really took off for you?

Sarina Wiegman coming in (to the England job) was a big moment. I wouldn't say it all clicked together, but I would say that was the start of my career and life changed quite dramatically – her belief in the way she had watched me and said to me that she was giving me an opportunity to play and keep the shirt, and then it was up to me what I did with it. I had never experienced anything like that before, and I think that was the start of a couple of years, to say the least.

Which player would you have loved to play with in their prime and why?

I'm going to go with Hope Solo [Editor’s note: Hope Solo is a two-time World 11 goalkeeper]. Obviously, we wouldn't have been able to play at the same time, but I would have loved to train with her and learn from her. I think she was a phenomenal goalkeeper in her time, so that would have been a fun experience.

Mary Earps W11 2023 2