Tuesday evening’s game against Eastbourne Borough saw Dartford FC Women’s striker Emily Vaughan feature in our matchday programme. For those who missed it, here is the full article:

It feels like the pre-season was an age ago. Yet it remains fresh in the mind of Dartford FC Women’s number ten, Emily Vaughan, “…the off-season was great. I managed to get away a few times. But, the best part was that I got to see my sister and brother-in-law have their dream wedding. The whole COVID-19 outbreak meant it was cancelled a few times, so it was nice to finally celebrate with them!”

The Dartford striker certainly needed the break herself, after such a long season, which she balances with her job… “Monday to Friday I work within the customs area for a big retailer. So, I love being able to have the weekends off, and being able to get away!”

Her days tend to revolve around that job, especially on days outside of football. However, Emily does like to catch up with her friends over a coffee or something to eat. And, she fondly says, “A lot of my time recently has been spent with my family and my 7-month-old niece. It has been amazing seeing her grow and seeing her little personality coming out.”

As our discussion returns to football, Emily says that the sport has always been her main hobby and interest, despite being able to try a bit of everything when growing up. She says, “I loved going to watch Charlton play when I was young. That club was my inspiration, together with the likes of Clive Mendonca and Scott Parker. Since then, I’ve always wanted to play.”

And, what about now? Who is an inspiration for Emily today? “Now, I look to players like Jill Scott and Ellen White. They are so inspirational to the women’s game and, like them, it is amazing to see how much the women’s game has changed.”

To Emily, who has a tendency to believe that she attracts more bad luck than good, her family were good to her in many ways when she was growing up. As she said earlier, she was able to try a bit of everything. That included karate, which she also loved although, “…I only managed an orange belt…” She also loved to travel and discover new places, something that she still loves to do. But, her real passion is obviously this sport.

And, it all began at a young age for Emily. She started going to the Charlton Summer Schools when she was seven years old. Whilst there, there was the opportunity in their Centre of Excellence, but being so young, Emily just wanted to enjoy playing. With the lack of girls teams at the time, she says that it was also hard to see any future career for herself within the sport, “…I wanted to play because I loved it… If I was a kid now and growing up, I’d definitely be looking at a career opportunity because, so much is evolving around the women’s game.”

She did indeed play for Charlton’s Centre of Excellence, but stopped to play with her local boys team because there wasn’t any teams for young girls around at the time. “The first girls team I actually played for was Cobras, before I joined Swanscombe Tigers. I spent a big chunk of time at Parkwood, before I stopped playing for a couple of years.” Emily then signed for Dartford in 2020, and has remained loyal ever since.

Her favourite goal was one that she scored a few years ago, “I was standing in the centre circle in the attacking side. There was a goal-kick, and it came straight at me. I just volleyed it straight back, and it went in! I’ll never score a goal like that again and I still have no idea why I decided to boot it straight back at her (the goalkeeper)!”

As for this season, Emily is just focusing on the league and getting the team into its style of playing. She believes that promotion is important, and any cup success will be a delightful bonus.

Emily also says that, while it’s always good to plan for the future, she’s a big believer in enjoying what you have in the now, and what is right in front of you. So, she’s “…enjoying my football and am happy with the people and lifestyle I have around me.”

As our conversation reaches its conclusion, the Dartford FC Women’s number ten has this to say to the Dartford supporters, “We have a great fan base already. We would love to see more of you. Come down and cheer us on, and see what we’re all about! We are always in the bar after as well, so join us for a pint (of water…)! Hopefully, we’ll see you on a Sunday soon!”

Emily isn’t wrong. They are always in the bar after a game, and the football is great as well…! If you should stumble upon her in the bar, or even a coffee shop, stop and say hello and buy her a drink. She may even tell you that she’s descended from the Royals… or is she…??

By Chris Palmer