England winger Lauren Hemp hopes the achievements of the Lionesses at Euro 2022 this summer marks only the start of the journey towards increased participation in women’s football.
Hemp delivered the corner that was turned home by Chloe Kelly in the final against Germany as the Lionesses wrote themselves into English football history with a 2-1 extra time victory.
And the Manchester City star, who was awarded the freedom of home town North Walsham for her heroics, hopes her side’s success will leave a lasting legacy.
“We went into the tournament wanting to inspire a nation and get people watching women’s football. That’s what we’ve done,” the 21-year-old told Sky Sports.
“We’ve broken record attendances and there was so many people watching the women’s game. That’s what we wanted to achieve.
“It’s only the start of a journey where we want to keep increasing participation in women’s football and make sure we get people involved.”
Hundreds gathered as Hemp, who Lionesses legend Karen Carney has often said retired her in 2019, was honoured back home in Norfolk. Now, she is keen to act as an inspiration for the next generation.
“It’s been pretty crazy, just to walk out by the town clock and see so many people there supporting,” she added. “It was years ago I was walking through those streets as a young girl with a dream of wanting to play football and win trophies for my country. My dream came true and I hope to inspire so many young girls and boys to take up football.”