When Tottenham’s full-back Siri Worm was a child she could not have envisaged professionalism or playing at a ground as grand as the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium because it was so far removed from her reality.
“When I was starting playing football we didn’t even have women’s teams in Holland,” the 28-year-old says. “I didn’t even know that there was a national team in women’s football. I couldn’t dream as my teammates in the boys’ team could.”
It was not until her mid-teens that she became aware professionalism was a serious option and “my dream started”.
Now she is preparing to play Arsenal at Tottenham’s stunning stadium for the second time. Saturday’s game will get the full matchday treatment, with coverage across all of Tottenham’s digital channels and the club website and app and there will be a special women’s team edition of the N17 Live matchday show, with buildup, half-time and post-match reaction, and analysis with Spurs’ left-back Ash Neville and the two-times World Cup-winning head coach of the USA Jill Ellis.
In the first game at the showpiece ground, on 17 November 2019, goals from Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema secured a 2-0 win for Arsenal but “it was an incredible experience”, says Worm. “It’s literally a dream to play in big stadiums, and the Tottenham stadium was impressive. The facilities are fantastic.”
Emblazoned on signage around the ground was Worm’s image, too. “If you share a wall with Son and Kane it’s not bad, is it?” she says with a grin.
That meant a lot to her mother, who was initially unconvinced about Worm taking part in the sport played by her older and younger brothers but quickly became her biggest supporter after a neighbour, also a coach, told her how much there was to gain from team sports. “When she saw me on the wall at the stadium she just got a bit emotional. She was really, really proud of me.”
A positive result for the home team will be a tough task. Spurs have struggled and picked up two points from their past six games, having won their first three matches under the manager Rehanne Skinner, who Worm says has brought “a lot of experience and professionalism”. Arsenal are fresh off a moral-boosting defeat of Manchester United that puts Champions League qualification in their grasp.
“We’ve just been a bit unlucky with the results,” says Worm. “We’ve created the chances and had opportunities to win games but we just have to be more ruthless and consistent in front of goal. We’ve worked on that really well now. We have to be patient and results will come.”
In Arsenal’s attack are some familiar faces in Worm’s compatriots Miedema, Danielle van de Donk and Jill Roord. “I spoke to Jill yesterday and we’re both really excited to play in the stadium,” Worm says.
”I really like to play against them because they’re all good friends with me. All three are quality players, they score really easily and it’s hard to stop them, but I think we did really well last year at keep the game at 0-0 for a long time and if you go back to the Conti Cup in November, we performed really well against Arsenal and we were a bit unlucky to lose on penalties. If we can bring that again then we can get a good performance out of the game.”