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London City Player Spotlight: Lucy Shepherd

Credit: @thoughtsofawing

As one of the newest additions to the London City squad, Lucy Shepherd aims to use the plethora of her experiences in football to help the team achieve the ultimate goal at the end of April.

Since she could remember, football has always been a part of Shepherd's life. Despite having an older sister that was not into the game, Shepherd was always enamored by a football between her feet.

From admiring David Beckham to being the only girl on a boy's team when she was younger, Shepherd always had the skill set, and mentality to achieve greatness.

Football was always a part of her, and if she was not playing in an organized match, Shepherd was kicking the football around with her friends in the neighborhood. She always looked forward to watching the Premier League every Sunday morning before her game in the afternoon.

Shepherd spoke on what the beginning of her football career looked like, stating, "I grew up playing on a boy's team. I was the only girl and rarely came across other girls."

Around the age of 12, a rule disallowing girls to play on boys' teams kicked in, and Shepherd moved on to the next chapter of her football journey.

"Under-12's, girls were not allowed to play with boys anymore, and in one of my last games playing with my local boy's team, there happened to be a scout at that game...that is how I went on to play for (Aston) Villa," Shepherd stated on her first transition in her football career.

Shepherd would spend eight years in the Villains’ youth system, helping to bring Aston Villa to the 2013/14 FA Youth Cup final, becoming the first Villa player to score in a Youth Cup final along the way.

The current London City winger spoke of Villa acting as a launchpad for the rest of her career, stating, "It enabled me to have very good coaching, but it was also a pathway I did not expect to happen. I was just in the right place at the right time, but it opened up so many more opportunities for me."

Her time in the youth system at Aston Villa began to mold Shepherd into the versatile, and polished player she is today.

With the ability to obtain a degree while being able to play high-level football at the same time, Shepherd took her talents to the United States, joining the women’s football team at Hofstra University in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Credit: Hofstra University Athletics

Before she joined, the program finished in the bottom four of the conference with a 4-5 record in league play, but with a talented group of individuals coming in that included Shepherd, she had her eyes set on altering the narrative.

In four seasons with The Pride, Shepherd was a key contributor to Hofstra winning three straight conference titles.

"When we first came to Hofstra, the school did not make the conference tournament in the previous season. We were coming in as an unknown threat, and we wanted to change the program for the better."

Shepherd and her classmates left the women's football program of the largest public university on Long Island in a significantly better place than they found it.

She finished her career with a total of 75 points, including 25 goals and 25 assists. Her point total today still stands in the top ten in the program's history.

Shepherd spoke on how her time in Long Island aided in her transition to the professional game, stating, "I was about living and breathing football. Being around the environment all day, every day. Your main focus of the day was your football session, and getting your body right."

She continued, "Having two games a week was always tough on your body, so you always had to be recovering well, eating well…, you were thrown into the deep end of professionalism."

Her collegiate success earned her a moment of a lifetime. Shepherd was drafted with the 23rd pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft by the defending champions Washington Spirit.

Shepherd gave her perspective on seeing her name among the best of the best around the collegiate football game in the United States, stating, "I did not have a clue that I was going to get drafted. When the dream finally came true, I was so shocked, and over the moon. No one can ever take that feeling of getting my name called away from me."

Following the draft, Shepherd made the decision to return to England to be closer to her family, and get back into the competitiveness of English football.

In the summer of 2022, Shepherd made the decision to join the Lionesses, meeting up with Melissa Phillips, a coach she knew from her collegiate battles against the University of Pennsylvania.

With the number of a legend on her back, Shepherd has the knowledge from experienced coaching and two completely different styles of play in her back pocket.

"Promotion is the main goal for the club, we look to achieve that. It is really possible for us, we have a good set of girls who are all competitive day in and day out. It just pushes us to be better, and that will only benefit every one of us."

Shepherd knows as a whole that it is important to enjoy what you are doing, and while there may be setbacks, the love of the game has the ability to trump all barriers along the way.

Through her impressive resume, Shepherd not only brings a dynamic threat that can use both her feet on the flank of the Lionesses’ attack, but the former Villa product also carries the mentality of a winning culture to a club seeking to get over the hump and raise a title for the first time in its history.

Credit: @thoughtsofawing

Want to see Lucy in action? Click the link to purchase tickets to the next London City home game against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Conti Cup!



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