After a successful first season with the Royals, Mary Earps has extended her stay with Reading, signing on until June 2018.
Still just 23, Earps has a wealth of WSL experience behind her. After starting her career at Leicester City, Earps moved on for a spell with neighbouring Nottingham Forrest before making the switch to the Doncaster Belles at 18.
A new season meant a new challenge for the Nottingham native as she moved to Birmingham City, getting her first taste of UEFA Women’s Champions League football at just 20 but with limited opportunities Earps was on the move once again, becoming the first-choice keeper for Bristol City (then Academy). With the Vixens’ relegation following the 2015 season, Earps opted to stay in WSL 1 and joined up with Kelly Chambers’ Reading side ahead of their debut season in the top flight.
At first rotated with long-standing keeper, Grace Moloney, Earps moved up the pecking order and took the first-choice spot ahead of Moloney with the Irish international spending the second-half of the season on loan to WSL 2 side, Aston Villa. As Reading’s number one, the regular football only helped to continue to grow Earps’ game, the England youth international getting called into the senior camps as third choice when one of the more established keepers was injured.
Having just been selected for the England camp once more ahead of this months’ friendlies in Spain, Earps has cemented herself as one of the top English goalies in WSL 1, her extended deal more proof of Chambers’ keen to lock down the talented shot-stopper.
Particularly memorable in Reading’s last game of the 2016 season against Doncaster, the Notts native pulled off a string of top draw saves to stop her former team from breaking the deadlock. Her goalkeeping heroics not quite enough to keep the Belles at bay for the 90 minutes, her eye-catching saves the highlight for the home fans.
Player of the Year
Royals boss, Kelly Chambers was quick to praise Earps, lauding the “impact” she had during her first season with the club, rightfully winning Player of the Year. Chambers spoke of Earps’ “drive, passion and ambition” which all align to that of the club. The two a perfect fit.
Likewise, Earps was “delighted” to have extended her stay, also nodding towards the ambition of the club that wants to “push forward” and grow an “all-around strong, competitive” team. With a clear footballing identity, Earps is happy not just to be part of the developing side but in the right place to continue her own development.