Lotte Wubben-Moy on her inspirations and ambitions

Lotte Wubben-Moy at the Emirates

You won't find many more inspirational young women in the world of football than our own Lotte Wubben-Moy.

This is the woman who has campaigned and lobbied the government for girls to be given more opportunities to play football. This is the woman who made a commitment to work with Arsenal in the Community as part of her new contract with our club. And this is the woman who is seen as a leader by all those around her - even those who are older and more experienced.

So what made our No.3 that way? Here we find out who inspired Lotte on her footballing journey...

Who was your childhood inspiration? How did they inspire you? / When you were growing up, which player inspired you – tell us why?

Casey Stoney and Rachel Yankey were two players I looked up to at an age when I first recognised that there were female football players. Casey Stoney was always a ball-playing centre-back, which I think is such an important characteristic to have in that position - not just to be able to defend but also to create. That was the main aspect that drew me to her but obviously her leadership skills whilst captaining England were also massive.

For Rachel Yankey, it was her flair. It was the London flair that I recognised on the football pitches at school, only this time it was on the pitches of Highbury and the Emirates when they got the chance to play there. On a week-in, week-out basis for Arsenal, I thought it was amazing that she was able to bring that level.

When I was 16, I was lucky enough to play with both of them, so that was a full-circle moment for me.

Arsenal Women team photo 2015

Lotte alongside Casey Stoney, Rachel Yankey and our 2015 Arsenal Women squad

And what inspired you to first start playing football?

When I first started, it was street football. I grew up in London where it was just normal for a boy or a girl to play. It felt like a safe place where you could play and express yourself, particularly at school and on the concrete estate pitches that we have near us. I wouldn't say it was necessarily as inspiration because inspiration is often something extraordinary. This just felt very ordinary. As a child, with a childlike naivety, it was just so pure. I didn't think anything of it then. Now, it's obviously snowballed into something I can call my job today, but at that point, it was just a case of: 'Alright, that's normal. I'm gonna play football with the boys and girls. We're gonna enjoy the game for what it is.

Was there ever a time when you didn’t feel like playing football? Why?

I’ve never had a moment like that. It's not necessarily that I live and breathe football because I don't. I don't for any moment think that's healthy, but the way I've always interacted with football is that I do it with a smile on my face. I do it because I know how much it connects me to other people all over the world. I'm not bad at it so that helps! But it has always just felt natural.

Lotte Wubben-Moy celebrates with the team after her late equaliser against Wolfsburg in the Champions League

What moment from your childhood made you think, ‘I can become a professional footballer?’

It was very late. I signed for Arsenal when I was 13 and even at that point, I'm not sure I fully realised it. It wasn’t until I made my debut at 16 that I probably recognised that this was actually something I could do.

What have you seen off the pitch that you thought was inspirational?

I never really realised that I could be a professional footballer until it was within my grasp but the biggest difference now is that young kids do have those aspirations. You’re not just met with a dead end when you’re inspired to play football.

There are genuine possibilities for girls to become professional footballers. Me and the Lionesses are pushing for a minimum of two hours of P.E. at schools in the Let Girls Play campaign. That's the start of it.

The more that we can provide kids in London and inner cities across the whole country the opportunity to play football, the stronger the pathway will grow. It will provide places like Arsenal with a fuller crop of players that reflect the multicultural society that we see day in, day out. You can aspire but if all you’re met with is ‘no’ or dead ends, then that aspiration becomes redundant. I think the way women's football is moving is that we're seeing fewer dead ends and we’re seeing more possibilities. There is still so much more work to be done in that area.

Lotte Wubben-Moy and Debra Nelson from Football Beyond Borders

Lotte Wubben-Moy and Debra Nelson from Football Beyond Borders

Where does your drive to help the community and your activism come from?

I think it's always been part of me. When you're given a platform like we had this summer during the Euros and we now have in the WSL, to imagine not doing something meaningful just feels wrong to me. I want to try and actually create concrete change where I can.

I'm a product of the city where I grew up. London is one of the most diverse places in the whole world and much of what I apply to life and to football comes from this city. Everything that I've learned on the streets playing football, in the classrooms at primary school - I've picked this all up from my life. It just feels natural. It feels like something I should do. The word activism can scare quite a lot of people off but it gives me so much energy.

What values have your family taught you?

They taught me the importance of creativity. I believe in creativity as a whole philosophy for life, regardless of what industry you’re working in. Because through creativity, you can be who you want to be. You can share as much or as little of yourself with others. I’ve always loved the idea of being able to make something out of nothing.

And away from sport, who else in the world inspires you?

I think that ebbs and flows throughout daily life. For instance, the woman who serves us food at Arsenal, Veronica - she inspires me. She's absolutely brilliant. She turns up every day with a smile on her face, she gives us energy and has amazing food for us.

I think every single person can be an inspiration. Putting food on the table, sharing an idea or something meaningful with another person - that's a way of making the world a better place. If you live that way, you’ll always put a smile on people’s faces.

And is there a teammate who can really inspire you?

I think we have a really unique team here at Arsenal. We have a very caring squad and we’re a very tight-knit group of people. There are a lot of different characters with different stories but we’ve all meshed together in such a nice way. Personally, I'm always someone who will listen to a person’s story and more recently, I've been listening a lot to Viv's stories to learn about what she's been through.

Lotte Wubben-Moy and Vivianne Miedema

Our squad has gone through a number of injuries already this season and those small moments you can share with someone to show that you care for them, to show that you appreciate them - that often gives us energy on the pitch too. It's never completely smooth sailing in football, but those small moments are vital. They count for a lot.

Looking back, has there been a coach that has particularly inspired you?

Back in primary school, my P.E. teacher Paul was someone who gave young girls a space where they could feel safe and feel like they could be themselves. He helped me start a football team at my primary school, a girls' football team, when there wasn't one and that really set me on this path.

My second answer is Anson Dorrance. He was my coach at the University of North Carolina during my college years in America. Anson was someone who taught me in a way that I've never been coached before. I say taught because he looked at football in a super holistic way. First and foremost, he wanted us to become good people and good characters, knowing that would then tie perfectly into becoming a better football player. That was sort of the lifestyle that I lived when I was in America and I've tried to carry it through with me back to London.

As a coach, his impact has been incredible across his career. He won the first Women’s World Cup with the US Women's National Team in 1991 and a lot of his successes paved the way for his legacy. He was an unbelievable man who looked at football in a way that not many people do.

Even though I’m miles away now, I still have the UNC spirit, that Tar Heel nature. Alessia Russo was my roommate when I was at UNC and I see that in her. Lucy Bronze, Tobin Heath - the list of players goes on. Anson definitely instilled the foundations for success in so many ways for a lot of us. I feel lucky that I was part of that and I try to live those values still.

Is there a game early in your career that you still think back to now?

It’s hard to pinpoint one specific game but my first two seasons coming back to Arsenal definitely felt like a big learning curve for me. I had to come back into the professional game after having been at university, getting reacquainted with everything. Obviously, the WSL has taken massive steps forward and continues to, and I feel lucky that I've been a part of that evolution.

Are you someone who needs revving up before a game – or perhaps the opposite, all about staying calm? Have you always been the same?

I'm fairly easy when it comes to matchday motivation. I'm pretty intrinsically motivated. I don't usually listen to anything specific to hype me up, but I often know my roles clearly and I know what I want to execute and achieve on the pitch. When the whistle goes, I'm ready to go. And when the final whistle goes, I’m ready to reflect on the game and move on and learn from it.

How important are supporters on the pitch?

It’s not even necessarily something you can see or hear. Sometimes it’s just knowing that I'm playing at the Emirates, where my friends and family can get to easily. Those kids from the boroughs where Arsenal is actually active with our community projects in Islington, Hackney, Camden - knowing that they can easily get to a football game for a relatively small amount of money compared to the men's game. That gives me so much energy already. When I step out onto the pitch with that energy in the bank, knowing that I've got that on my side, I already feel like I'm one-nil up on the team that we're playing.

I also know how powerful that is, not only for the women's game but also for Arsenal as a team active in the communities. I know how important that is. When it comes to the sound and the visuals, obviously 40,000 people at the Emirates is definitely bigger and louder than 2000 people at Meadow Park. But what it symbolises means even more. It’s unreal, it gives me so much energy.

Lotte Wubben-Moy and Beth Mead with their Euros winners medals

Can you think of a game when a particular moment inspired the whole team and changed the outcome?

Without a doubt, Beth Mead’s performance last year against Chelsea at the Emirates. That was an inspiring moment that we all got to witness as players and as fans.

And finally, where in the world have you been and felt inspired?

London, particularly East London where I grew up. It speaks for itself.

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