Kicked off her local boys team at the age of seven
because despite being the top goal scorer, Kelly Smith has gone on to become one of England's finest female footballers.
Talented, confident on and reserved off the pitch, she has soared on career highs (recently earning her 100th England cap) and overcome lows (injury and alcohol addiction) with hard work, dedication and faith in her own ability.
She had no female footballing role model growing up, but says it hasn't affected her career. Although she "would have liked to have someone to look up to" and is glad to inspire young girls around her.
Your career is very demanding. How do you balance work and personal life?
I have dedicated my whole life to playing football. It's something I love to do and am very passionate about. But it's important to find a balance - my life can't be 100% football all the time.
It's good to get away on holiday after the season to rest your body and recharge the batteries. I'm not fussy on destination, just somewhere hot, with a beach and a pool. I like going to new places, but am a big fan of the Caribbean islands.
I also try to see my friends when I can and spend quality time with my family.
I enjoy simple things going out for food or to the cinema, walking my dog or go and watching the Arsenal men play if I don't have a game myself.
How do you let off steam and relax?
You've come up against various obstacles in your career, how did you overcome them?
I've had my fair share of injuries during my playing career and battled with alcohol addiction for a number of years.
I went to rehab on a number of occasions to get help. Through counselling, talking about my issues and learning about my addiction, I was able to overcome my problems.
What is the proudest moment of your career?
Can I have more than one? My first England cap, then my 100th England cap and winning the quadruple with Arsenal in 2007.
You're known as an 'introvert', how do you find confidence in yourself both on and off the pitch?
I've always been very confident in my own ability on the pitch. This comes easily. I think it's because I always had a ball at my feet growing up and was always working on my technique, which breeds confidence.
I'm more reserved, but that's just my personality and I'm fine with that.
Does the pressure of your career ever get to you?
No, I don't feel any pressure. I love what I do.
Who is your inspiration?
On the pitch - Ryan Giggs, he's had a wonderful career and he's still going strong.
Off the pitch - my dad, he's followed my whole career and showed me so much support and encouragement.
How do you feel about being a role model to so many young women?
I enjoy it, because I never had a female role model growing up. If I can help or inspire any young kid then it makes my day. I like sharing how I got to where I did because it can help others achieve their potential.
Do you think your career would have benefitted from having more visible female footballers?
I'm not sure my career would have benefited from having a female football role model, but I would have liked to have someone to look up to. To know that there was an England women's football team and visible female players would have given me a visual aim.
What one piece of advice would you give to young girls looking to make it in the sport?
Dedicate yourself to the game - train hard, listen to your coaches and try to improve everyday. Above all, aim high.
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