The first home game of the new year saw Dartford demolish Ebbsfleet United. Dartford FC Women defender Meghan McKeag featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:

Left-back, Meghan McKeag, arrived at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park during the summer having joined Connor Dymond’s Dartford FC Women’s squad after impressing during pre-season.

And, at the time of our conversation, the 33-year-old is in good spirits despite her being kept out of action due to a niggling injury, “…I’m well thank you and am ready to get back out on the pitch again soon.”

Due to that injury our conversation via WhatsApp took a little time to complete because, Megan took the opportunity to take a spell away from football for a while… “I’ve been travelling in the USA and Canada, which has been amazing. It’s a big world out there!”

It’s becoming obvious that Meghan loves life and is prone to the odd adventure in order to explore it, as well as the world we live in, “…my life includes travelling, training, socialising, meditating, and dancing. I write and dabble with photography. I adore music and am an advocate for Mental Health. Oh, AND, I’m very much into fashion and own more footwear and clothing than I have storage for!”

Well… it certainly seems that Meghan lives an impressive and busy lifestyle, what does a typical day for her look like and how does she fit it all in? “I’ll wake up and immediately require coffee…” …Like yours truly, Meghan isn’t a morning person and, the quicker the coffee enters the system the better…!

She continues, “…then I’ll get my training done so that I can focus on the rest of the day. I’ll eat… frequently! I’ll walk D’Artagnan, my Beagle, and complete my day’s work and then spend my downtime doing whatever I’m drawn to. I’m also a big fan of sleep…!” Ah, sleep… my favourite pastime as well!

And yes, you read that correctly, this busy woman with a wonderful sense of humour also finds the time to work… “I work 9-5 for a Local Authority in the Housing sector. I’m based in a team that works exclusively with vulnerable adults to address their housing and wellbeing needs in order to prevent homelessness overall. It’s a tough and demanding job, but it can be rewarding when you can have a positive impact in a person’s life.”

It’s so uplifting to hear that Meghan is, like many within this Dartford FC Women team, doing something to help those in need in our society, especially when it involves homelessness and mental health. For that’s just one reason why we’re here on earth… to help and love others where we can, and this deeply spiritual person is indeed loving and aware that, “…life is an unpredictable journey…”

And, it’s her spirituality that ultimately keeps Meghan grounded. She elaborates, “I deem myself as a spiritual person, and I have all the crystals, sage and tarot decks to prove it!… life is an unpredictable journey and this is what grounds me.”

It’s evident that she’s not only mindful and spiritual, but intelligent and blessed with a wonderful sense of humour too. An interesting fact about her is that she’s… “Lacking in interest I’m sure but, if I ever were to go onto Mastermind, my topic of expertise would be Harry Potter!!”

As our conversation moves onto the subject of the beautiful game and how Meghan became involved in the sport, it occurs to me that she’s an inspiration to many. But, who inspired (and/or still does inspire) her?

I have to shout out my Old Man here. If not for his support and coaching over the years, I wouldn’t have succeeded in the ways I have been able to! I feel very fortunate for the footballing career I’ve had to date. Growing up, my role model was Ashley Cole (on the field only; mind!). Still the best left-back I’ve ever seen. I always attempted to base my game on the way he played.”

High praise indeed. So, where did it all begin for Meghan? “Following my first step, I apparently had a ball placed at my feet! So blame my Dad! Nature and Nurture were both definitely involved. I was obsessed with football from a young age, but I started playing for a club side (Leyton Orient) when I was 10 and I never looked back. I always knew that I wanted to play football, as well as I could and for as long as I could.”

Her footballing journey has seen her represent many clubs… “I’ve certainly been busy and well-travelled over the years…” Being based in London, Meghan’s career has seen her wear the colours of Leyton Orient, Arsenal, Chelsea, Charlton, Millwall, Watford, Bees, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, as well as “…more recently and less-locally, Portsmouth-based Moneyfields.”

Being a life-long Arsenal fan, her time playing for the Gunners was a really special time for Meghan. Her other proudest moment was when she represented the Lionesses… “When I put on an England shirt for the first time, it was a culmination of a lot of graft, desire and dedication to get to that point.”

Today, she is working on recovering fully and getting back to playing. She wants to do the best that she can to be a valuable asset to the team. “I want to assist in achieving all of the collective successes that we are aiming for. I want to get as much out of the game as I can, for the time I have left.”

And what about off the field? “In general, it’s about fulfilling my personal and professional goals and working to be the best version of myself.”

It has been a pleasure to speak with Meghan and learn about her life and what makes her tick. Her story and words are truly inspiring, making us all realise that there’s always room to improve in order to become the best version of ourselves, while looking out for others. As our conversation reaches its conclusion, I’ll let her finish with one final message…

“I’m grateful to have been accepted and welcomed in the way that I have been by all players and staff at Dartford. I feel that I have really fallen back in love with football again, which I was missing for a while beforehand. Thanks for reading and for all of the continued support.”

By Chris Palmer