Now or never for Salmon
It was a case of now or never for Ebony Salmon after making the big decision to move to the United States but it is a switch which appears to be paying off for the young England striker.
Despite being just 20, Salmon made the decision to move to Racing Louisville FC in the summer and marked her arrival in style, scoring a stunning match-winner within one minute of coming on as a substitute in her NWSL debut.
Salmon has gone on to score five goals in 16 appearances - which is the most in the team - and her form resulted in a call-up to Sarina Wiegman’s first England women’s senior team squad for the matches with North Macedonia and Luxembourg in September.
“When I went out there I obviously had some doubts about whether I would enjoy it or not but I am definitely enjoying it,” she said last month following the call-up.
“I wanted a change and a challenge. If I hadn't done it when I did then I probably wouldn’t have done it.
“Making that decision at such a young age wasn’t the easiest but if I hadn’t done it then then I probably wouldn’t have done it, so I am glad that I did.”
The former Aston Villa youngster had impressed at Bristol City over the last two years, despite the team’s recent struggles, and made her England debut as a substitute in March against Northern Ireland.
Salmon isn’t the only familiar face to Barclays FA Women’s Super League fans in the Racing Louisville FC side, with the likes of England international Gemma Bonner and former Manchester City star Nadia Nadim also in their ranks.
And Salmon says the great squad environment has helped her settle in during her time in Kentucky.
“The style of play is probably one of the main things [which is different] but that is something which is just going to add to my game. And then definitely the weather!” she said.
“I have settled in really well. There is a really good set of girls and that has made it a lot easier for me.
“As much as living away from home in England is different to America, I haven’t lived at home since I was 17 so it meant I had already got used to it over here before I actually made the move to America.”
Salmon’s great 2021 continued in September when she was included in Wiegman’s squad for the opening two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
Wiegman is widely acknowledged as one of the best head coaches in women’s football, after guiding the Netherlands to UEFA European Championship glory in 2017 and a World Cup final two years later.
Salmon spoke to us just a few days after meeting Wiegman for the first time and had been impressed by what she had seen so far.
Salmon said: “She seems really nice. We have only been here two days but she has made a good impression on the group and has set out her ambitions for us as a group, which are obviously big ones and I think they match the team’s ambitions and also ours as individuals, which is really good for all of us.”
Salmon ended up being an unused substitute for September's 8-0 win over North Macedonia and 10-0 away victory in Luxembourg.
The striker was named in the England women's under-23 squad for this month's game against Belgium, as Wiegman looks to increase opportunities for promising players in the senior pathway.
The WU23s will travel to Stade Leburton in Tubize for the international fixture on 25 October (kick-off 1.30pm) and there will also be a training camp at St. George's Park, which will be led by experienced coach Mo Marley, who is returning to guide the squad on a consultancy basis.
As for the senior team, they will be facing Northern Ireland at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 23 October in what will be the first competitive England women's match to be played at the iconic ground, with tickets available from £20 for adults and £2.50 for children.