In this week’s feature, we profile Alex Scott, the club captain, and one of the longest serving player over three spells.
First name: Alexandra Virina
Squad number: 2 (captain)
The current club captain has had three spells with the club, coming through the youth teams ranks via the centre of excellence as a forward. Because she was not getting much playing time and received a good offer from Marcus Bignot, she moved to Birmingham.
The parent club there cut the money supply and she rejoined Arsenal where she was converted to a right-back as Kirsty Pealling was in the twilight of her fantastic spell with the club.
At that time, back in 2004/05, Vic Akers also switched the system from a 3-5-2 that featured Pealling and Weathley as wing-backs to a back four with Scott on the right side of the defence. Many were tried on the left for a number of seasons.
During that second spell, Alex scored the winner in the UEFA Women’s Cup final (the competition is now called the UEFA Women’s Champions League) in 2006/07 with the only goal in the 1-0 win at Swedish giant Umea IK.
The return leg saw a 0-0 draw, watched by a record crowd for a Ladies game at Boreham Wood FC.
Following years of success with the club, Alex was offered the chance to play in the USA with the newly formed League the WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer).
She was originally drafted to the Chicago Red Stars, who were coached by former Arsenal assistant manager and current Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, so there was hope that she would not move to the USA.
But that hope was crushed when her rights were traded to the Boston Breakers and Arsenal fans knew that she would go there. She moved to Boston for a couple of seasons alongside her ex Arsenal team-mate, Kelly Smith. When the WPS collapsed, she came back to the Arsenal for her third spell at the club.
An interesting fact is while the Arsenal Ladies were still a semi-professional team, a status that changed in 2013 thanks to Shelley Kerr pushing to be able to compete with full-time sides like Liverpool, Alex Scott was working at the Colney training ground in the laundry department with other Ladies players like Yvonne Tracy and Becky Spencer.
Ciara Grant and Faye White were also working as admin for the Ladies team and at various point in time Kelly Smith, Jayne Ludlow and Emma Byrne were coaching the Arsenal Academy girls.
Now a veteran in the team, Alex Scott is the leading light on the team’s social media with Facebook live appearances and Instagram stories. She also appears more and more on TV programs as she prepares for her life away from the pitch and you would expect her to do some media work as soon as she retires from football.
She is the number one right-back for the team and has managed to push away all competition for the spot in the starting 11. She should be Pedro Losa’s choice for the Spring Series and the 2017/18 winter season.
In term of international football, the latest stats from the FA show how important she has been through the years for the England team with 137 caps 12 goals and only two bookings.
She seemed to lose her place as the main right-back at the World Cup 2015 to Lucy Bronze but has recently managed to start a few games. The change from the 4-4-1-1 system to 3-5-2 means she is now selected at right-wing-back, competing with wingers for the starting spot. Alex also played for Team GB at the London Olympics.
Let’s hope for a good Spring Series and a fantastic 2017/18 season under her stewardship with the title or, at the very least, Champions League qualification.