As someone brought up to believe in exemplars rather than heroes it was a delight to spend an evening with Rose Reilly at Laura Martin’s fine production of Rose at the Perth Theatre.
Looking fit enough still to be on the football pitch where in 1984 she was voted the world’s best female player, this genuine hero spoke after the one-woman show about the life that took her as a teenager from the rough grounds and attitudes of the Scottish game to Italy’s San Siro stadium – adding in compelling terms what still needs to be done today for girls equally drawn to the game.
Denied the chance of playing for Scotland, she and another young soccer talent took themselves in 1972 first to France and then to Italy. There, Rose played for AC Milan and other clubs before captaining the World Cup-winning Italian team.
She retired in 1995 at the age of 40, having played all her professional career abroad while banned from the Scottish game.
Even though she was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2007, she has never received an apology from the Scottish Football Association that denied her and generations of women the opportunity to represent their own country.
While welcoming changes that give more soccer opportunities to girls today, she says there is still far to go. For example, she recently warned that young girls are still being denied opportunities to enjoy the game. She was photographed outside the padlocked gates of the outside pitch of the sports centre that bears her name.
Rose portrays in strong, humorous and moving terms the life of a magnificent athlete, one still devoted to the game and the cause of those who today want to find fulfillment in playing it. Catch up on the play where and when you can: it’s not to to be missed.
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