The new WSL 2 season is underway, and we spoke to Aston Villa Ladies midfielder Chloe Harper who is confident her side can enjoy a strong campaign.

Harper revealed to the Daily Cannon how her love from football manifested, while discussing the evolution of the Women’s game and giving her picks for the title this season.

She also spoke out about how TV coverage has improved and how supporters have made up chants for the players which makes for a great atmosphere in games.

Also in the interview, Harper admitted a certain Arsenal legend was her idol growing up, and she’s tried to emulate elements of their playing style on the pitch.

How did you get into football?

“I have played football since I could walk, I used to push a pram about with a football in it rather than a doll while wearing my big brothers football boots. My idol was Thierry Henry for Arsenal, his style of play is how I strive to perform. I’ve still got my shirt with his number 14 on from when I was 6.

“I played for a mixed team called Bustleholme in West Bromwich and was picked up by West Bromwich Albion WFC at the age of eight at Bustleholme’s summer tournament. I then had the choice to trial for WBA, Villa or Wolves and chose WBA. I went to Villa at age 12.”

How has Women’s football evolved from when you initially started?

“When I first got spotted by West Bromwich Albion, we used to trial on Lion Farm and play on Blackheath Park where parents had to clear the pitch before we could play.

“We played against Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Coventry in the Central Warwickshire league, a year before the Centres of Excellence were formed.

“At the time, only certain clubs gained the COE status. WBA wasn’t one of them hence why I joined Villa at u12’s. Back then, family and friends were our only supporters, so each player would bring between two and four supporters each.

“We had to help fund our training facilities and kits from fund raising carried out by the parents.”

Who are your pick for the WSL 1 title? And who will be the one to watch in WSL 2?

“In the WSL1, my favourites are between Manchester City and Arsenal. Both sides have some cracking players. In the WSL2, we’re hopeful of a bright campaign, but will be keeping an eye on Doncaster Belles. They could be stiff competition.”

Why should more people be tuning in to the new WSL season?

“The game is a lot more televised now and we get supporters from the Villa men’s team at our games. We even have a group of supporters who have made songs up about us all and the way we play.

“It’s much more fun for fans now and people should at least go to a couple of games to see how technical and enjoyable Women’s football is. The respect for the officials is massive too.”

And finally, what are your personal hopes for the season?

“For me I have high hopes for Villa this season. We have new coaching staff that are doing a fantastic job tactically and psychologically, we’re learning all the time.

“We also have technical, strong, clever players who play as a team and want to succeed. Personally, I have had a few injuries over the last few years and am really looking forward to getting back to full fitness.

“I’m hoping to be a regular in the starting XI every week.”

Thanks to Chloe Harper for taking time out to speak with us at the Daily Cannon. We wish her and Aston Villa Ladies well for the season.

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