Mary Earps, the standout goalkeeper of the England Lionesses, has secured the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. This accolade follows her stellar performance in the World Cup, where she played a pivotal role in guiding the Lionesses to their first-ever final.
At the age of 30, Earps becomes the second consecutive women’s footballer to claim this honor, following in the footsteps of her teammate Beth Mead. The goalkeeper’s remarkable achievements include being awarded the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper at the World Cup and playing an integral role in England’s Euro 2022 triumph.
The recognition comes at a time when women’s football is gaining increased visibility and appreciation. Earps, who plies her trade for Manchester United, has not only excelled on the international stage but has also been a stalwart in domestic football. Her exceptional performances earned her the Women’s Super League Golden Glove for the 2022-23 season, where she kept a record 14 clean sheets.
Earps’ journey to the summit of women’s football has been characterized by resilience and determination. Initially on the brink of retirement and facing challenges within the national team, she emerged as one of the most globally recognized goalkeepers. Her turnaround story serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes, showcasing the transformative power of dedication and self-belief.
Despite the individual accolades, Earps remains grounded, attributing her success to the collective achievements of her teammates. She emphasizes that the award is not just hers but belongs to the entire team, acknowledging the crucial role of team success in individual recognition.
Away from the football pitch, Earps holds a degree in information management and business studies, demonstrating her commitment to both academic and athletic pursuits. Her impact extends beyond the sport, with fans and the public recognizing her contributions, even leading to notable honors such as having a bus and a tram named after her in her hometown of Nottingham.
Who else was honoured at Sports Personality 2023?
Helen Rollason Award: Fatima Whitbread
Coach of the Year: Pep Guardiola
Team of the Year: Manchester City
Young Sports Personality of the Year: Mia Brookes
Lifetime Achievement: Sir Kenny Dalglish
Unsung Hero: Des Smith
World Sport Star: Erling Haaland