European champion Jill Scott hopes to bring the community together in a coffee business
On Sunday July 31 at Wembley Stadium, Jill Scott became the most decorated international player in the history of the English game. By finally winning a gold medal with her country at the UEFA Women’s Euro, Scott added to the silver she won at Euro 2009 and the bronze she collected at the FIFA Women’s Cup. women’s world 2015.
Several of the men won gold at the 1966 World Cup before finishing third in the European Championship which followed in 1968 and several of Scott’s teammates were part of two of the three medal-winning teams between 2009 and 2022, but a only English player. in history was one of three.
Speaking a week after becoming European champion, Scott told me “I was actually thinking about it the other day – I have a full set of medals. I would much rather there were three medals gold. My World Cup is currently framed, so I’m definitely going to have to get this one framed. It would obviously be to have all three framed and also, I’m losing stuff, so that would probably be a good idea!”
Now 35, Scott’s incredible international career is in its seventeenth year. She scored for England in fourteen of those years across three separate decades. She appeared in four World Cup finals, scoring at three, four European Championship finals and two Olympics. Currently out of contract at the end of his two-year contract with Manchester City, Scott is on holiday to assess his options before deciding whether to continue playing and aim for an unprecedented fifth World Cup final for England. .
Coming off the bench in the UEFA Women’s Euro final, Scott was closest to striker Chloe Kelly when she scored the extra-time goal that ended the Lionesses’ long wait for a first senior trophy. Scott remembers the feeling of running away to celebrate. “I think it was just elation, I was looking into her eyes, she was looking into mine. When the referee pointed (for the goal) we went absolutely nuts.”
Scott was presented with his gold medal by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. The pair have struck up an unlikely friendship since Scott tackled the future king in a charity match a decade earlier. Scott is grateful for the support William has given the women’s team for many years. “He was really so happy for all of us. I felt like we had a good hug. He followed the team for years, he really did. I know sometimes people just say, some people are just being told to support and follow but he’s real. It feels like that’s very honest of him, and he’s really sincere. He called us in 2015, he came to see us in 2019 , he came before this tournament and then to see him in the final, it was a special moment.”
Last week, Kelly said she would frame the sports bra she revealed in the finale and Alessia Russo’s boots went on display at the Tower of London, but Scott gave away most of it. of her kit to the fans who have supported her through difficult times. thin. “I stayed on that pitch for about an hour and a half and tried to go around the whole perimeter of the pitch just to thank the fans. I think without them we wouldn’t have done it, so I went around and donated my boots, my shin guards… I think I have nothing left. I will definitely frame the shirt, 100%. We had a clean shirt too, so I I wore for the after party. I think mine is covered in red wine now!”
The Lionesses’ triumph is just the second senior honor won by the England national team after the men’s FIFA World Cup victory 56 years prior. Since then, “The Boys of 66” has become indelibly in the national consciousness, meeting regularly for get-togethers and birthday parties. Scott is well aware that she is now forever linked to the other 22 players on the 2022 team.
“I think we have an unbreakable bond to be honest. When you’ve had such an amazing trip like this – staff too – you have so many special moments. (Sunday) I put a message in our (what’s app) group and I said “happy birthday one week” and it was just nice, people were sharing what they did in the week It’s just great to keep in touch with the girls and, for me , the more times we can catch up the better because it’s not like catching up with teammates, it’s catching up with friends.”
One player who did not make the squad was longtime captain Steph Houghton, who lost both the armband and his place in the squad following an injury that left her short of precision before the tournament. Houghton had captained the Lionesses at many key moments in their development into a world-class team, but short of playing time, she was dropped by Sarina Wiegman from the 28-man provisional squad a few weeks before the tournament.
Nevertheless, Scott reveals that Houghton was always on the player’s mind during the final. “Yeah, there were loads of messages,” Scott told me. “She kept in touch with the girls. Obviously we said in interviews afterwards that it was for all the players. We were a group of 28 people, it was for everyone. Obviously the work that Steph has done over the years has been amazing as captain she really is the face of women’s football I would say ten years in England It’s a sad time in a way I wish “She achieves it but, at the same time, I hope she knows it’s for her too. I hope she can enjoy the moment too.”
Days after winning the UEFA Women’s Euro title in front of 87,192 fans at Wembley Stadium and the UK’s biggest TV audience of the year so far, Scott returned to serve drinks at Boxx 2 Boxx Coffee, the store she co-owns with her partner Shelley Unitt. Scott made headlines by taking his winner’s medal to allow their customers to have their picture taken with it.
“I love being in the shop,” Scott admitted. “Switching off, making coffees, chatting with customers. They were so supportive throughout this journey that I brought my medal into the shop. crowds in a day like we’ve had in a week in the past It’s just good to have other stuff because if it’s just football, football, football all the time, you can bore you a bit, so for me it’s important to also do different things.”
After years of traveling the world playing the game, Scott is happy to give something back to her partner in a joint venture that has attracted many famous gamers and has become the focus of a BBC light podcast series – Jill Scott’s Cafe Club – in which the eponymous host interviews her teammates. Despite the boutique’s fame, Scott is keen to stress that she’s indebted to her partner’s efforts: “She seems like I’m more of a hindrance when I’m in the boutique than a help to be honest! Shelley’s put so much work in that store I think when we first opened she worked 95 days straight so she worked so hard I think she sometimes hates that I take all the credit for the coffee because I’m only in one day a week. We have fun days, I think the clients have become our friends, so yeah, it’s just nice to have that together.
“I think if someone knows me as a person, I would be very happy to come back to my life. The purpose of coffee is to bring a community together. We have a lot of customers where coffee is the main focus of their day , they can be old and they come and they meet new friends and stuff like that We have game nights which means customers turn off their phones and come and meet new people The purpose of the cafe will never change .”