Dromara-born Northern Ireland ladies midfielder Caragh Milligan says football has been “a game changer” for her after she signed to play for Icelandic side Fylkir.
In the midst of the World Cup Qualifiers, we spoke to her ahead of her next big match when Northern Ireland take on Slovakia on November 28 to hear about her recent move and her take on the rise of the women’s game.
Caragh joined Dromara Village Football Club when she was about four or five years old and played with them up to Under 15 level.
“I was the only girl in the team and in the entire league at the time,” the 20-year-old explained. “But it was some of the best footballing years of my life and definitely helped me develop my skills from an early age, enabling me to be stronger and faster. It was also great fun playing with the boys – especially when I would be running circles around the boys and their mates would be laughing at them getting beat by a girl, I loved that.”
Caragh recently made the move to Iceland where she is playing for Fylkir Football Club in Reykjavik.
“It has been a fantastic challenge for me so hopefully in the next couple of years I will have progressed with my team there, or it may even open other doors of opportunity to go elsewhere and play in other places within Europe. It’s true to say that football has been a game changer for me and I would encourage any young girl who fancies having a go at football to follow her dream,” she continued.
“For any young girls wanting to play football I would advise them to just go for it. If it’s your passion to play football, even if you’re the only girl out of your friends group, just do it. Follow your passion and do what you love.”
Looking forward to a positive future for the women’s game, Caragh added: “I really hope to see the game in Northern Ireland progress from the bottom right up to the top and for our team to achieve the dreams that we’ve always talked about. We’ve pulled out some great performances over the years so if we maintain that consistency and keep developing a strong squad, we’ll have a good chance of reaching our goals. That’s why I was so happy to hear that the women’s game in Northern Ireland is getting great support now. For instance, Electric Ireland has come onboard with the Game Changers campaign which aims to boost participation rates in the women’s game by championing women’s football from grassroots up, so I’m excited about the future prospects for the women’s game in Northern Ireland.”