When Fliss Gibbons signed for then second tier Albion in 2017, she hadn’t considered she might be a WSL player one day.
Fast forward five years and the 27-year-old made her 50th WSL start in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
“I signed from Gillingham, who were a fourth-tier club nearly five years ago,” she said. “I never thought about playing in the top league but I got lucky because when we got promoted Hope [Powell] was very fair with the players that came up with the team, she gave everyone a chance.
“When I signed a contract to play in the WSL it felt like a bit of a bonus. I thought that if I did it for a year it would be an amazing experience. It was an opportunity I didn’t want to turn down.
“This is my fourth year in the WSL now and 50 starts is something I am really proud of considering where I’ve come from.”
Gibbons says her part-time career in the game has helped make her the player she is today.
“During my first year at Brighton I was working in a special needs school in Kent, so there was a lot of travelling after long days at work.
“I would get back late and then be up early to get to work. It was a year of hard graft because the standards were really high alongside a really demanding job where I was on my feet all day. It was worth it because I wouldn’t be here now without it.”
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It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Fliss this season. A persistent hamstring injury has hampered her availability and Saturday’s start was her first since the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United on 12th December.
Her injury coincided with a winless run of seven league games and meant her return to the side and the back-to-back victories Albion have enjoyed couldn’t have been more timely.
“We’ve instilled a bit more belief in ourselves over the past few weeks. It did seem like it was really dark days and a bit of a crisis.
“When we stepped back and looked at the points we had compared to last season we realised it wasn’t a crisis, we were just a team out of form and that happens to all teams and it was our time.
“We’ve turned it around now. The 4-1 win over Reading was probably one of our best performances of the season. We always believed in ourselves and we’ve stuck together during the hard times and hopefully we’ve come out the other side.”