Bristol City defender Chloe Arthur says she’s living the dream as a WSL 1 player and believes she’s come on leaps and bounds after signing a new deal last summer.
The 23-year-old didn’t have it all her own way, however, revealing it took a four-month trial at Celtic before they signed her to a youth contract.
“When I was younger, I wasn’t really a standout player at all. Even when I first went on trial with Celtic (ten years ago), it took them four months to sign me and is still on ongoing joke with my coach.
“Thankfully he signed me as that’s where I grew as a player and got my first opportunity with the national team at youth level.”
Arthur rose through the youth ranks to the Celtic first-team in 2011, making a handful of appearances before becoming a regular in the senior side the following season.
“I worked very hard as a kid, so to eventually sign my first professional contract was amazing – to see the hard work paying off. I’ve always dreamed of being a professional footballer, so I feel very grateful to be in this position.”
She would leave Celtic for Hibernian in 2014 and earned a runners-up medal in the Scottish Cup and Scottish Women’s Premier League, in addition to making her Scotland debut, and her career went from strength to strength after moving to Bristol City.
The Vixens were a newly-relegated WSL 2 side when the defender arrived but won promotion back to the WSL 1 at the first time of asking, finishing second in the table.
And after an impressive debut campaign, Arthur signed a new deal for the Spring Series – Bristol City finished eighth in the tournament. The Scot has been a regular in her second season, which she feels is what has made her a better player.
“To have so much game time in this league has been important for me, for experience and to develop as a player. I try to always win my place in the team and I’m very fortunate enough to play so many games. I’ve definitely learned a lot and I’m striving to become an even better player.”
City have yo-yoed between the top two tiers of late and have endured a gruelling 2017/18 campaign, suffering 10 defeats in 14. But a win over Sunderland earlier in the month helped boost morale and confidence.
“It’s been very tough, individually and as a team. A lot of results haven’t gone our way even if we have performed well. However, we stick together and try to progress each week.
“To finally get the win (over Sunderland) was amazing for us all. It was a long time coming and we hope to pick up more points leading into the last few weeks of the season.”
Manchester City recently won 6-1 against the South West outfit, but Arthur is confident her side can learn a lot from these results to improve next season. The Vixens have a young squad who should be all the better in 2018/19 for having a year under their belt in the top flight.
“Consistency is hard to get sometimes, but there is so much talent in the squad and some of the young players will be world class in years to come. We still have a bit of experience in the squad which is a good balance.
“I think there’s always room to grow within a team and whether that’s adding experienced players or not, who knows. But I think Bristol can definitely have a better season after experiencing a year in the WSL 1.”
The 23-year-old has the utmost confidence Bristol can improve and is determined to do the same herself. Arthur wants to play at the highest level on the biggest stage for club and country in years to come.
“Playing at the highest level and as consistently as I can (is my future plan). I want to get better and better as player and also as a person.
“I want to challenge myself and hopefully continue to be involved with the national team as we are on our journey to qualify for the World Cup. To be involved in that and also qualify would be an honour.”
She represented Scotland in a major international tournament last year – the 2017 European Championships – playing against England and Spain in Group D. However, they bowed out before the knockouts on goal difference.
“Playing at the European championships (was one of my best career moments). I was called into the squad late, so I didn’t expect any game time, but to play against England and Spain was amazing.
“Against Spain, we were not favourites to win but our team was outstanding that day and we won 1-0. It was probably my best performance as a fullback too which was nice. The full experience was unreal even though results didn’t go our way.”
“Although the Euros was one of my best moments, it was also one of the worst because we couldn’t progress any further after only beating Spain 1-0, we had to win by two goals.”
Against England, her Scotland side suffered a 6-0 defeat in Utrecht, with Jodie Taylor bagging a hat-trick. Jordan Nobbs pulled the strings, and Arthur says Nobbs is one of the best players she’s come up against.
“A footballer I find really difficult to play against is Jordan Nobbs. She’s hard to mark, always on the move, has good feet and can also score goals so she’s a bit of an all-rounder.”
While the Arsenal midfielder may be one of the best Arthur has played against, Lauren Hemp may be one of the best she’s played with. The 17-year-old was named PFA Young Women’s Player of the Year, and is “going to be world-class”, according to her City teammate.
“I’ve got to mention one of my teammates, Lauren Hemp, who’s only 17 and just won the PFA Young Women’s Player of the Year. She’s an absolute nightmare to play against in training. She’s going to be world class.”
Bristol City have four league games remaining – Everton (away) on May 6, Yeovil Town (away) on May 12, Chelsea (home) on May 15 and Arsenal (home) on May 20. Their meeting with bottom-side Yeovil is a derby and a winnable game for both clubs.
Arthur believes City can come out on top if they’re clinical in the 90 minutes and highlighted the importance of picking up all three points against a rival.
She said: “It’s always a tough game against Yeovil since it’s a derby. We are always confident going into games, it’s just whether we can perform and be clinical within the 90 mins. We need to win that game so that’s what we will be striving to do.”
Thanks to Chloe Arthur for speaking to The Sophist. We wish her and Bristol City good luck for the rest of the season.