Kim Brown still gets goosebumps watching it now; the moment when, with an almighty swing of her right boot, she became the first Sheffield United Ladies player to score a goal at Bramall Lane.
“Words can’t describe what it felt like,” Brown admitted, reflecting on her strike against Leicester City in last season’s SSE Women’s FA Cup. “I still shiver whenever I see on video. It was a brilliant moment and one I’ll never, ever, tire of talking about.”
Tomorrow, when the competition returns to the Championship club’s stadium, Brown will get the opportunity to create a new set of memories. Leeds United stand between Dan O’Hearne’s side and a place in the first round proper where they could be drawn against opponents from Premier League Division One.
For Brown, who started her career with the visitors, the match provides a chance to dispel some myths about the women’s game and, of course, relive her memorable effort 10 months ago.
“I a play all over but, when I’m at full-back, I’m allowed to go forward,” she said. “Usually, I look to hit it towards the far post but I can remember seeing the ‘keeper standing static so I thought ‘go for it.’ Fortunately I put that much on the ball it went in under the bar. My best mate was on the touchline because she was injured but she told me, if I scored, I had to celebrate with her. So that explains why I was charging about like I was. That and the sheer emotion of it all.”
“I know there are still people out there who think women can’t play football,” Brown added. “But, being on a stage like this, enables us to show that we can. Look how well England have done in the World Cup and the European Championships. The interest is growing and, speaking for us, standards are growing all the time.”
Brown attributes that progress, both at first team and development level, to the decision to officially bring them under the United umbrella.
“We train at the academy, not on a muddy pitch at Swallownest, and we get the chance to come and watch the men in action as well,” she said. “That’s how you learn, really, from watching. We’re always striving to improve.
“There’s a responsibility there as well. You know you really are representing the club. Kevin McCabe (United’s co-owner) is always texting asking how we’re playing or how we’ve got on and (chief executive) Andy Birks is the same. The first team lads are really interested because we’ve got to know them through pairing-up for community and charity visits.”
Like Chris Wilder’s squad, United Ladies have also made a strong start to the new season after being promoted last term.
“There’s a really strong team spirit among us,” Brown said. “We’re more like a family than a team; the same as the men.”
*United Ladies v Leeds United, Bramall Lane tomorrow (noon kick-off), admission, priced £3 and £2. Entry is via The Hualing Stand.