Mary Earps gave England hope – her celebration was ours to


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Thank you, Mary Earps for making us believe in comebacks and that all is possible — even if for the Lionesses, in the end, it was not.

When Earps got down low to her left to meet Jennifer Hermoso’s penalty for Spain in the 69th minute of the World Cup final like she had been waiting all week for it, this gave England, already 1-0 down, hope.

The Manchester United goalkeeper moved so quickly people asked, “Was she off her line?” As replays were being studied by the video assistant referee, who found her right foot was on the line, Earps was already marching about. She barged forward with the ball gripped under her arm, nobody was getting hold of it.

“Fuck off!” the 30-year-old shouted as England players ran to meet her. It was relatable. England fans felt the same rise in joy. Earps’ celebration was theirs, too.

The sassy frown we have come to know and love was beamed out to a worldwide audience. Her shoulders went back and there she was in her signature pose, which screams, “And what???” The moment was hugely uplifting for England, even if they couldn’t capitalise on it in the end.

Earps was undeniably England’s player of the final. She may stand at the back but she leads from the front. When Leicy Santos’ cross dipped over her to put Colombia 1-0 up in the quarter-finals, Earps didn’t let the mistake negatively impact her. She brushed it off and kept going. This, along with all her superb saves, is what makes her great.

She uses her voice effectively off the field as well.

Earps started this tournament by not sugarcoating anything. She took aim at Nike for England’s goalkeeper kit not being on sale to fans. “It’s hugely disappointing and hurtful. It’s something I’ve been fighting behind closed doors,” said Earps, who offered to fund the manufacturing process herself.

Earps is someone to believe in. And I believe in her. We were born on the same day and both turned 30 on March 7 this year. We have lived the same exact days to this point and on the 11,123rd day, Earps played in a World Cup final and absolutely bossed it.

Earps reacts after saving the penalty (Maryam Majd/Getty Images)

England’s comeback didn’t happen, but Earps’ personal one provides inspiration for anyone suffering from setbacks.

Earps dropped to the floor of her kitchen in tears in September 2020 after checking Instagram to see that she was not in England’s latest squad. There were more blows, and each of them hit her hard, but she kicked on. She rose from the floor again and again. And after her tears at full-time, as Spain won the World Cup and England grieved for their lost dream, she did so again.

The tears in Sydney were different to the ones that fell in her kitchen just three years ago — these ones came with her at the absolute top of her game.

Holding the Golden Glove award on stage afterwards was proof of that. Earps won’t celebrate this honour but she should be proud of all she has accomplished. This was a tournament where so many goalkeepers excelled, and this prize told the world she is the very best of them.

It was never going to feel as good as it would have had she picked up a winner’s medal.

When Earps won FIFA’s Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper award in Paris last year, she said: “This is for anyone who has ever been in a dark place: just know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel… there’s only one of you in the world, and that’s more than good enough. Be unapologetically yourself.”

It was a message many people clung to with the same grip that Earps met Hermoso’s strike with. “Mary, queen of stops” is what England fans have been calling her. She is queen of recoveries, too.

We don’t just trust Earps and her ability to get up off the floor, we find hope in too. And for that, we give thanks.

(Top photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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