Liverpool Women’s have had some notable Scousers on their roster over the years. Alex Greenwood is probably the most notable one, but now there’s another looking to make her mark for the Red Women.
Missy Bo Kearns broke through to the first team last season from the Academy, was named fans’ Player of the Season, and Standard Chartered Women’s Player of the Year - all in her first season. Not a bad way to start. Now she has a new challenge in proving herself to Matt Beard ahead of the Women’s team first match this Sunday against London City Lionesses. Even after playing at the academy from a young age, being able to pull the shirt on semi-professionally is a dream come true for Kearns.
“For me to represent Liverpool FC is a big thing,” Kearns tells the club website. “My family support the club, I’ve supported the club since I can remember and I still can’t believe I play for Liverpool! It’s an honour really.”
Kearns even got her start alongside another Scouse first teamer named Curtis Jones, another academy kid making impressions at the senior level, and even in an interview about herself couldn’t contain her pride for him.
“We played for the same football team, Mossley Hill,” she reveals. “It was an all-boys team and I was the only girl!
“We were only six or seven and it was great. Curtis had the Cristiano Ronaldo haircut back then and he was the same player that he is now – confident and loved to get on the ball.
“We both joined Liverpool around the same time and it’s great to see he’s doing so well and we’ve come so far together.
“It’s brilliant that one is on the male side and I’m on the female side, and we basically have had the same journey and it’s good to see. I’m absolutely made up for Curtis to see him part of our first-team squad.”
As nice as that dual journey is to see, it’s time to look towards the future and that means another campaign towards promotion to the FA Women’s Super League after Liverpool were relegated at the end of the 2019-20 season.
“I can’t wait to get started. We’ve had a good pre-season and we are all ready to go now,” Kearns said of the upcoming season.
“We are starting to gel together as a team and in the formation Matt wants us to play, so we are really excited and it’s time to get to work. All the new players have settled in well. I think they have all brought different things to the team and they are all nice girls. We are quite a close squad which is good. It’s strengthened us and we want promotion.
“Last season was a bit of a shock to us, to be honest. A lot of us are more experienced now in this league which I think will help us and we know what we need to do.
“We are more ready this season. Last season we had a bit of a chip on our shoulder with what happened with the relegation but everyone is over that now. We know where we want to be and we want to make sure we get there.”
The first match of the season against London City Lionesses also means the return of academy graduate Amy Rodgers, who was released from the club at the end of her contract this summer and went on to move to London. Amy and Missy Bo came up together, so she knows what challenges lay ahead.
“It’s going to be a tough game and most teams in the FA Women’s Championship have strengthened now and it’s not going to be easy,” Kearns stresses.
“London City Lionesses have a good squad and they have players like Amy who we all know very well. So it’s going to be tough but we are ready and we need to perform and get the three points.”
The best part about the season starting on Sunday? The return of fans to Prenton Park - with much fanfare to accompany it.
“We can’t wait to see them on Sunday and we’ve missed them so much,” Kearns says. “The atmosphere they bring really inspires us as a team. Last season it was so quiet and sometimes you need them to get you through it.”
The fans will also get the chance to see Kearns’ new number as she’s switched from the number 21 to the iconic number 7 for the Reds this season. Big shoes to fill, for sure, but something Kearns feels confident enough to do - even with the nickname ‘Bo Salah’ earned last season with her displays.
“Matt phoned me and asked did I want to wear the No.7 jersey this season,” Kearns explains. “I said, ‘That’s a winger’s number!’, and he turned to me and said: ‘Kenny Dalglish wasn’t a winger, Luis Suarez wasn’t a winger.’
“So I said, ‘Alright then, I’ll take it!’ So that’s how it happened really and it’s an honour. It’s [the nickname] stuck now and everyone is calling me it!
“The players call me it in training every now and again when I do a few step overs. It’s nice though and I take it as a compliment.
“Mo Salah is absolutely flying for the men’s team, so if you are compared to someone like that you’ve got to take it, haven’t you?”
With this kind of infectious joy ahead of the season, this writer can’t help but want to root for Missy Bo specifically, as she brings that Scouse joy of the game to the new season and looks to be instrumental towards gaining promotion.