Jess Fishlock MBE Profile
|Name||Jess Fishlock MBE|
|Born||Jan 14, 1987|
Two-time Champions League and four-time W-League winner Jess Fishlock MBE is Wales' most decorated player and a leading voice for the LGBT+ community.
Jessica Fishlock MBE is a Welsh professional soccer player who plays for Reading on loan from OL Reign. Previously, she has played for Cardiff City, Bristol Academy, AZ Alkmaar, Melbourne Victory, Glasgow City, FFC Frankfurt and Olympique Lyonnais.
Fishlock has also long been the most recognisable player in the history of the Welsh national team and became the first Welsh soccer player, male or female, to earn 100 caps for her country.
Fishlock has dipped into coaching too, serving as a player-coach for Cardiff City and a player-assistant coach and player-head coach for Melbourne City.
Fishlock was born in Cardiff and has openly admitted that she had a difficult childhood and school life in Llanrumney.
"Back then, the stairs wherever you went were segregated - boys only, girls only. And for someone like me at that point, I had short hair as I do now - which is far more acceptable nowadays than it was back then - you could only imagine what was being said in these stairwells," she said of her time at school, as per Wales Online.
Making life even more difficult for Fishlock was her sexuality. She reportedly knew around the age of 12 that she was gay.
"I knew really young. But knowing it and accepting it are two different things," she said.
"Knowing it would be hard for my mum and dad, hard for my family, impossible for my grandparents and in a different kind of world, really, to the rest of society, now that is scary, especially for a 12-year-old."
After dropping out of college to concentrate on soccer, Fishlock worked a 40-hour-per-week job in telecommunications to fund her passion, as there was not significant support for the women's game. The former Cardiff City player ultimately moved to AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.
Having joined AZ early in her career, Fishlock struggled to fit in.
"I rang my mum, crying my eyes out, 'I can't do this, I hate it, it's not what I wanted, it's not what I thought it was going to be, I'm coming home'," said Fishlock.
"Her response was, 'You're not coming home, but if you do come home, you're not living here'.
"She said, 'Give it until after Christmas and if you don't feel any better, I'll fly you home'.
"Obviously I got upset and hated my mum at that point in time, which she always says was the hardest thing for her.
"She wanted me to go home, of course she did, but she knew that was selfish of her to want me to come home, because she knew that I wanted my career more than I wanted anything.
"In three months, I was having the time of my life. I just turned a corner, I don't know what it was, broke through it and signed a two-year deal."
Fishlock then began to make waves at a Bristol Academy side which regularly competed for trophies, cementing herself as one of Britain's brightest women's footballers and winning the FA WSL Fans Player of the Year award in 2011 and 2012.
After another successful stint at Melbourne Victory, Fishlock secured her biggest move yet as she transferred to OL Reign.
OL Reign and loan stints
In February 2013, Fishlock joined Reign FC in the USA ahead of the inaugural season of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). After the conclusion of that season's NWSL tournament, she went on loan to Glasgow City and won the Scottish Women's Cup.
In 2014, the Reign won the NWSL Shield and made the championship final and Fishlock was selected in the team of the tournament. She subsequently went on loan to FFC Frankfurt and played a vital role in their UEFA Women's Champions League victory.
The 2015 NWSL season was almost a carbon copy of the previous campaign as the Reign made the championship final only to lose to FC Kansas City. Once again, Fishlock made the tournament's best XI. However, her 2016 season was hampered by injury.
Fishlock spent three consecutive seasons at Melbourne City, serving as a player-assistant coach and briefly as a player-head coach. She won W-League Championship titles in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 to add to another she won on loan with Melbourne Victory in 2013/14.
In September 2018, Fishlock was loaned to Olympique Lyon from OL Reign until the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League campaign. The move paid dividends as Fishlock picked up her second Champions League winner's medal.
In August 2020, Fishlock was loaned to English side Reading amid doubts over when the NWSL would resume. She scored twice for Reading in a 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Fishlock and Wales national team
Fishlock captained the Wales U-19 women's team, having made her debut for them at the age of 16. She was called up to the senior national team for a match against Switzerland in 2006.
In 2012, Fishlock was handed the national team's captain's armband, holding onto it for three years before she was omitted from Jayne Ludlow's team for the 2015 Istria Cup. Fishlock was recalled to the team two months later.
On April 5, 2017, Fishlock became the first Welsh soccer player, male or female, to earn 100 international caps.
"A great win is what we needed so overall it was a pleasing day for me," she told BBC Wales Sport after a 3-1 victory over Northern Ireland.
"I had to try and play well and make sure we got the win that we deserve. But now I can enjoy it with my family."
She added: "It is great and the build up was very humbling but I still had to play this game without thinking it was my 100th cap."
Fishlock was awarded an MBE by the Prince of Wales in December 2018 for "services to football and the LGBT community".
She has spoken of how her parents' acceptance of her sexuality taught her an important life lesson about learning and understanding.
"Their love for me never faltered and all they needed was education and understanding," she said, as per Wales Online.
"That's one of the best lessons of my entire life that my mum and dad have taught me, without knowing, is the ability to understand something and want to learn to understand something for the sake of somebody else, is the most powerful thing."
Jess Fishlock's net worth
Fishlock's precise net worth is unknown, but she has played in the NWSL long enough to have witnessed the seeds of a financial revolution. From 2020, the salary cap increased to $650,000. In the inaugural season, it was $200,000.