Eagle-eyed viewers of women’s professional soccer may have noticed a new name crop up on the team sheet for West Ham over the past couple of weeks.
Esquimalt-born goalkeeper Emily Moore made her first appearance on the substitute’s bench on Jan. 16 when West Ham United FC played Tottenham in England’s FA Women’s Super League competition and has since been listed among the substitutes two more times.
While it’s been a journey to get to where she is, she found out very quickly she would be signed to the team. The Tottenham game was on a Sunday. Moore received an email the previous Monday asking if she could be on the bench for the game, filling in for a goalie who was away playing international soccer. Without question, she said ‘yes,’ then had 48 hours to pack her stuff and get on a flight to England. She arrived late Thursday, trained with the team on Friday and was on the team sheet on Sunday.
“It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks,” Moore said. “I feel like I’ve just started to realize now that I’m technically a professional athlete.”
Moore had trained with the team for several weeks during their pre-season in July and August, but returned to the University of British Columbia – with whom she’s won a U Sport National Championship and made the all-star team – to finish her degree in visual arts, graduating in December. It was an alumnus at UBC who recommended West Ham reach out to Moore.
After the summer training Moore was told the team would reach out to her again in January, but she didn’t know whether the call would come. In anticipation, Moore’s mom, Kerri, helped her apply for an ancestry visa to the UK – her grandfather is British – in the hopes she would get the call.
“We’re proud she’s getting where she wants to go,” Kerri said.
Moore first started playing goal at age 12 for the Gorge Soccer Association. “When you’re that young you’re just trying to get them out and exercise and make new friends … We didn’t think she’d make it to this level, but any opportunity she got she wanted to keep going.”
Now that Moore is in a professional environment, she’s eager to prove she belongs.
“I always felt like I’ve had to really show what I can do and prove myself on the field, because it’s a lot of unknowns – I feel it’s kind of a crazy thing that I came from like a small club like Gorge,” she said.
Her contract runs until the end of West Ham’s season in May; she hopes there’ll be another contract after that, either with West Ham or another club in England.
“My main goal is to become the best I can be in professional sport, and all the other things will come along with that.”