Beth Mead is hoping to continue her emphatic form on Sunday, as England’s Lionesses take on Germany at the Women’s Euros 2022 final.
The Hinderwell-born ex-Sunderland superstar has scored six goals thus far in the tournament, as well as lapping up five assists – and will be hoping to help her team claim their first major trophy come the weekend.
Although many will know that the 27-year-old plays for Arsenal on a domestic level, but many may be curious about her England comeback and life off the pitch. From Golden Boot hopes at this summer’s tournament to her early life as a player, here’s everything you need to know about Beth Mead.
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Beth was born in Hinderwell, near Whitby in North Yorkshire, and started her youth career with California Girls FC. She then went on to join Middlesbrough FC’s Centre of Excellence before landing a professional contract with Sunderland AFC Ladies.
The Mirror reports that after a highly successful stint on Wearside, she was picked up by Arsenal in 2017. Interestingly enough, Mead has also represented England at every age level since her career began.
She made her debut for the senior squad in 2018, and also started in the first two games of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – which England would narrowly miss out on due to a 2-1 defeat from USA in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, this time last year, Beth was left out of the squad to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (played in 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic).
But her devastation from not being selected only spurred her onto a great season with Arsenal, which landed her a key role in this summer’s starting XI with the Lionesses.
Teesside Live reports that in a piece she wrote for England Football, Beth said: “I come from Hinderwell, which is a little village, literally in the middle of nowhere in North Yorkshire. I had a lot of energy as a kid and because of that, my mum wanted to get rid of some of that energy and decided to take me to a Saturday morning football session on a village field in Hinderwell, which was run by a guy who volunteered.
“I went down there one day and he turned around and said to me and my mum: “It’s fine that you’re coming down to get involved but you will be the only girl here. They are quite rough so will she be ok?” My mum replied: “She’ll be fine,” because she just wanted to get rid of me I reckon. But when she came back an hour later, he basically said I was rougher than most of the boys! The guy ended up saying: “She’s quite a talented footballer so you’ll probably need to go a bit further afield to have a chance to play somewhere with other girls.
“The pathway then for girls wasn’t there like it is now, so I had to travel for 45 minutes to Middlesbrough to go to a girls’ team over there called Middlesbrough Academy. I was a country girl with girls from Middlesbrough town so I was out of my comfort zone and I would cry probably on a weekly basis about going there but you get used to these things and eventually, I got my head around it and enjoyed playing football.
“I actually joined a boys’ team after that, California Boys, and I loved every minute of it. There was no judgment and they were great with me from day one. I probably played with them for a couple of years until the age when the ban came in. I then played for the California Girls team and went to Middlesbrough’s Centre of Excellence after that.”
Golden Boot chances:
Mead is currently tied with Germany’s Alexandra Popp as top goal scorer in this year’s European Cup, scoring a hat-trick against Norway, and one a piece against Northern Ireland, Sweden and Austria respectively. Ex-England hero Kelly Smith, who made 117 appearances for her country, spoke about Beth Mead: “She has been absolutely sensational and she’s at the peak of her career. It’s the best I’ve seen her play, ever.”
Smith continued that while Beth would love to win the Golden Boot, she would much rather be lifting the trophy with her team-mates at the end.