Ebony Salmon's grassroots story
The Lionesses and Houston Dash recalls her days growing up in the West Midlands and learning her trade with her brothers
INSPIRED: FIND A GIRLS' GRASSROOTS CLUB
My first memory of playing football would be going to watch my older brothers play football and kicking a ball around on the side of the field, as I tried to join in and find someone to play with me.
My eldest brother is Leon, who is 27, and my other brother is Levi, who is 24. We were always close growing up and we are still close.
I think living away from home probably makes us even closer when I go back home. We grew up together and when I was younger I went everywhere with them and did everything with them so we have been through everything together.
They played for a local team that my dad was the manager of and I would go to the games every weekend. It was one of the main reasons why I got into football myself.
Up until I started playing for a team, I played football mostly in the garden or at my brothers' games on the sidelines.
I grew up in Kingswinford in the West Midlands and my first team was Gornal Colts, where I stayed with the boys’ team until the age of 14, when I first went to an academy. I was at Aston Villa for four years in total, through the academy, youth system and then into the first team.
My overriding memories of grassroots football is just having loads of fun and scoring loads of goals. Every season I would score more and more goals. Obviously it's so fun being a professional footballer and doing it for a job but back then, being able to do it solely for fun and without any pressure was something I really enjoyed and took my mind off of anything else. I think everyone needs that something that they can turn to and for me it was always football.
Growing up, I mainly played as a striker. I did play in different positions sometimes – I can remember playing centre back a few times for example – but I have always known striker was my position.
I’m obviously playing in the United States now. It was a big decision to make that move, in the summer of 2021, but I look back now and I am really glad that I made the move. I am getting a lot out of being over there and if I hadn’t done it when I did, then I probably wouldn’t have done it.
At the time, it was probably a big decision but it's something which I'm really happy that I did and I think I'm thriving from making that decision and I'm probably in the best place that I could be because of that decision.
There are a lot of differences. The style of play is different for example, so you have to adapt to the style of play, the lifestyle and it's like a completely different life, so to be able to experience that at such a young age is good. The football side is good for me as a player and then the other side is good for me to grow as a person.
I’m at Houston Dash now and it's been a really good start for me. I was obviously frustrated not to be playing in the first half of the season at Louisville but for me, that's in the past and I had to forget about that half of the season and go to Houston to show people what I could do, prove them wrong and I think I've done that.
For me, the team is in a really good place in the league at the moment and I think we have to just keep on pushing. For me that is the main thing: getting success as an individual but also success as a team is really important too.