It was a pleasure and a privilege to be invited down to Finch Farm today to interview goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan ahead of the 23/24 WSL season. She showcases her talent week in and week out in the WSL and has recently represented the Republic Of Ireland at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia. Courtney is going to play such a vital role in the Everton side this season and we wish her all the success going forward.
This will be your 3rd season playing for Everton, I would like to start by asking what Everton as a club means to you?
“It’s been amazing my time here at Everton. I feel like, obviously, being away from home, that they’ve really welcomed me and made me feel like family as I don’t have family that live close to here. It’s been really special for me to play in such a good league, be surrounded by great girls and great staff too.”
What are your favourite memories of the women’s game and playing at Everton, what performance has left a lasting impact on you?
“One that sticks out for me from last season is probably Man United away when we drew 0-0. I think it was a proud moment for me to keep a clean sheet especially against such a top side. The girls battled so hard and to stay in the game and get a point off a team that was on a hot streak last year was definitely one of my favourite performances last season.”
You had an incredible season last season and have already made a significant impact on the women’s game, showcasing your talent in the WSL and on the World Cup stage. I’m interested to know how you hope your legacy will impact the women’s game and what you would like to achieve for women’s football?
“Playing in the World Cup this summer and seeing the impact that had on Ireland as a country and women’s sport within the country, that was amazing and so special to be a part of that. To me, when I go to games with Ireland and little girls come up to me and say ‘I want to be a footballer’ and ‘I want to be a goalkeeper’, because that doesn’t happen as often as someone else, so that to me makes me feel like we’ve inspired the next generation. These girls at such a young age have people to look up to and things to aspire to be, they know they are capable of achieving their dreams. I think that’s really cool to be a part of.”
You’ve achieved so much already within your international career, winning player of the year and getting to the World Cup. How does it feel to represent the Republic Of Ireland and having achieved so much for your country?
“Yeah it’s amazing, it’s really special. To make history with Ireland being the first women’s team to qualify for a major tournament and for it to be the World Cup was unbelievable. I feel really privileged and lucky to be a part of the journey. It’s such a special group to be a part of, I know how proud it makes me feel and how proud it makes my family feel. There’s this video of my dad from over the summer talking about his parents, they’ve passed away but they were Irish, and how proud he knows they would be of me. I think that’s pretty cool.”
Courtney you had many outstanding performances in the World Cup especially the save you made against Nigeria in the second half. How did it feel knowing you had played such a significant part in earning the Republic Of Ireland their first World Cup point?
“We were obviously a little bit disappointed, we thought we deserved more from some of the games. So going into the Nigeria game we knew we couldn’t advance, but we felt capable of getting points on the board and potentially going for the win. It was great for me, personally, to play such a big role and being able to keep the clean sheet, securing our first clean shirt and our first point at a World Cup.”
What are your aspirations for Everton Women, as a team and as a player?
“Since Brian has come in, we can see the structure that he has and the goals and ambitions he has as well. It is a very cool project to be a part of, to be able to push Everton Women in a more positive direction. For us, this year, we want to push up as high in the table as we can and show that we can compete against every team in the league. We want go out their and play some good football and score some goals.”
With the new signings that have been brough in, how do you think they will develop and help the team progress?
“I think the signings have been great so far! It’s nice when you have good people that come in, when they’re good players as well it’s extra special. I think they fit in really well and they are on the same page, they know the aspirations of the club and Brain and the team. Everyone has been working really hard this pre-season to put our foot forward and start the season on a good note.”
You have experience playing in the same team as Heather Payne whilst on international duty, how excited are you to see her at Everton and how do you feel she will help the team?
“I’m really excited to see her, I’ve gotten really close with Heather through playing for Ireland. Even in my years there, seeing how much she has progressed as player playing at international level, which is a top level. Coming to a club like Everton is going to benefit her so much. She takes information on so well and she has so much potential, so I think you’ll see a lot of improvements in her throughout the year. She’s already a great player so I’m really excited to see her this year.”
How do you think the 23/24 season is going to look for Everton Women?
“We are really excited about it, it’s going to be a great year for us. We are looking to build on what we had last year and we have some new additions to the squad that will help strengthen us and give us that whole package. We will take what we learnt last year, bring the new people in and hopefully keep making steps forward.”
We’ve also got another Derby set to be played at Anfield this coming season. You played incredibly in both derbies last season. What is the atmosphere like in the dressing room on derby day? Do you feel any added pressure knowing how important a derby win is to the fans?
“It was an amazing experience, both games. Playing away, we were really up for it as we just wanted to ruin the party and get a win away from home. When we played at Goodison we wanted to give our fans a great showing and get the win. I think it’s a really special thing to be a part of as we know how much it means to the fans. We know how big the men’s game is but it is fantastic to see it translated over into the women’s game. We are hoping to keep that up this year and get as many fans as we can at those games and give them a good show.”
Are you hoping to be consistently selling out Walton Hall Park again this season?
“Yes I hope so, we’ve got a great supporters club and we have great fans that come out to Walton Hall Park. We love being able to interact with them and see the impact we have on the fans, it’s really special. It would be amazing to continue to sell out the games and give the fans something to cheer about because they help us so much, pushing us on the pitch. So it’s nice to be able to give something back to the fans because they sacrifice their time to come out and watch us.”
Are there any specific fixture you are looking forward to this season?
“There are so many! I always look forward to playing Liverpool as I think that rivalry is amazing and it’s going to be a top game. I like playing against Man United and seeing the quality they’ve brought, especially this last year and how good they were. I think they are such a fun and exciting team to play against. Playing top teams like that brings out the best in our squad as well, so I think that would be one to look forward too.”
The team have progressed massively over the last few season and are now competing for those higher positions in the league table. Do you feel any added pressure when facing the top WSL teams or does it motivate you?
“I think it motivates us. I’ve been in the league now for a long time and there is a lot of girls here that have played in the league for a while, we know the level and it’s only continually growing and getting better. Like you said, the top teams are continuing to grow, as are the teams mid-table and at the lower end. I think it’s just a privilege to be able to play in the league. Nobody takes it for granted, it’s so special to be able to go and play that competition week in and week out. It’s what we look for as elite athletes.”
Do you have any short term goals that you would like to have accomplished by the end of the season?
“Obviously I’d like to keep some clean sheets, keep more clean sheets than I did last year, that would be a good one. I think, for me, especially at Ireland and translating that at Everton, I’d just like to fulfil the role that the team needs and do my job, whether that be making one save or twenty saves or no saves. I want to do what I can do for the team and being that team player is really big for me.”
What do you hope the future of women’s football will look like?
“Being at the World Cup this summer really opened my eyes to the potential of it. Speaking to my parents, having so much family coming over, they were all blown away. They were walking down the street and there was so many signs, people talking about the World Cup. It’s continuing to grow and I think that should be the norm, it shouldn’t just happen at the World Cup . That is something we can achieve in the league week in and week out, and on the international stage as well. We need to continue to push for better for the athletes, we work so hard but it’s nice to see the reward of it as well.”
What do you hope your legacy at Everton is going to look like?
“That’s a tough question. I would hope that people will see me as a good goalkeeper, someone that impacted the club and team well this year.”
Season tickets are now on sale for the 23/24 WSL campaign. Make sure to get down to Walton Hall Park and show the girls all your support! The link for season tickets is below.