Rising up in Jamaica, Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw wasn’t allowed to play soccer and needed to sneak out her home to play along with her brothers in her faculty uniform.
Now, the brand new Manchester Metropolis ahead is among the most prolific goalscorers within the girls’s sport and is Jamaica’s all-time high scorer at 24 years of age.
Earlier than Metropolis’s Ladies’s Tremendous League match towards West Ham on Sunday, and following Shaw’s second-half hat-trick towards Leicester on Wednesday, BBC Sport takes a have a look at what makes one of many sport’s deadliest finishers the participant and individual she is as we speak.
‘My dad and mom did not enable me to play soccer’
“As a feminine it was fairly troublesome [growing up in Jamaica] as a result of there’s not quite a lot of alternatives for women there. I used to be enjoying soccer amongst the boys. It was powerful as a result of they did not make it simple for me,” Shaw tells MOTDx.
“Once I was youthful, my dad and mom did not enable me to play soccer due to the dearth of alternatives. They noticed it as a waste of time.
“I used to sneak out after my dad and mom left for work and are available again in earlier than they acquired house. Sooner or later my dad got here and located me and I needed to run off the pitch as a result of he was chasing me.”
Shaw, who acquired the nickname ‘Bunny’ due to her love of carrots as a toddler, was raised in Spanish City, the birthplace of singer Grace Jones, and attended the identical highschool as sprinter Yohan Blake.
“Jamaica relies off athletics,” she mentioned. “Even earlier than faculty, everybody’s like, ‘first one to the store will get a greenback.’ In PE, we have been informed to dash however I might all the time be watching the boys play soccer. My trainer would say, ‘focus, focus!’
“I mentioned to my mum, ‘let’s strike a deal, I move my exams and also you let me play.’ I handed, after which I acquired known as up for the Jamaica U15s group after I was 13. Once I acquired the decision up, that is when it began.”
Whereas representing her nation in Florida, Shaw was supplied scholarships at Navarro Faculty in Texas and Japanese Florida State Faculty.
She was then scouted by the College of Tennessee, the place she concurrently accomplished a level in communications and helped Jamaica turn out to be the primary Caribbean nation to achieve the Ladies’s World Cup in 2019.
‘Due to the ladies I encourage, I’ll by no means hand over’
Shaw mentioned: “It evokes me to maintain going understanding that I am inspiring different feminine footballers. After we have been within the World Cup I did not count on the impression it might have on our nation.
“This one woman got here as much as me after we acquired again and mentioned, ‘I wish to be such as you.’ I requested why and she or he mentioned, ‘since you’re large and powerful and also you made it to the World Cup’.
“I simply checked out her and noticed how joyful she was and I mentioned to myself, ‘due to you, I’ll by no means hand over’.”
Shaw has tragically misplaced three brothers and a nephew to gang violence in her Jamaican hometown, with the information of her nephew’s passing coming whereas she was learning and enjoying soccer in Florida.
“What motivates me to maintain going is the place I am coming from. It has been a protracted journey, however I’ve made it this far,” she mentioned.
“There’s a lack of alternatives being a feminine in Jamaica, whether or not that is in sport or usually. I had no assist rising up, I simply knew I needed to do what I needed to do.”
‘Raheem Sterling performed an element within the Man Metropolis switch’
In June, Shaw joined Manchester Metropolis on a three-year deal after two prolific seasons with French membership Girondins de Bordeaux, the place she scored 32 objectives in 35 league video games and was named Guardian Footballer of the 12 months in 2018.
Becoming a member of the Blues after a Golden Boot-winning marketing campaign in France, the Jamaican scored on her WSL debut in a 4-1 win over Everton and scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Leicester on Wednesday night time.
Shaw mentioned: “I had an incredible two years in France and I acquired provides from English golf equipment. It wasn’t all the time undoubtedly Manchester, however Raheem Sterling performed an element within the switch.
“In Jamaica, even if you happen to do not assist a membership, you possibly can assist an individual, so when Raheem Sterling was at Liverpool I used to all the time watch Liverpool after which he got here to Manchester Metropolis.
“I spoke to Raheem beforehand after which I came to visit right here.”
Man Metropolis and England ahead Sterling posted a video on-line shortly after the announcement of Shaw’s switch, congratulating her on the transfer and welcoming her to the “close-knit Manchester Metropolis household”.
Man Metropolis’s WSL sport towards West Ham on Sunday kicks off at 14:00 BST and you may observe the motion through the BBC Sport web site and app.