Roy Hobbs and Steve Nebraska have got nothing on Sarah Crilly. The two fictional baseball players starred in famous tales about unknown players’ unlikely ascent to the top, but Crilly’s story is very real.
The 20-year-old soccer player went from spectator to goal-scoring hero in a matter of minutes, after she was called on to play for her country during a recent game, Sky Sports reports.
Scotland was playing Norway in an exhibition to prepare for Euro 2013 qualifiers later this month. The Scots had already lost a player because of a pregame injury, and another one was injured at halftime. That’s when Scotland coach Anna Signeul told national team administrator Kate Cooper to find another player.
Cooper didn’t need to look far. She shouted for Crilly, who was waiting in line for a cup of tea, to come to the locker room. Now, Crilly isn’t just any player. She plays for the women’s team at Scottish club Hamilton Academical and had practiced with the national team the previous day.
“At the end they said I should come and watch the match,” Sky Sports reports Crilly told the Scottish Sun. “So I was standing with all my friends waiting on a cup of tea when the team administrator came up and asked if I had my boots with me. I didn’t.
“So she took me to the changing rooms, and got me kitted [uniformed] out.”
Cooper actually rushed Crilly to the locker room, where she borrowed a pair of cleats from a teammate and was outfitted with a jersey and shorts that were all too big. She wore three pairs of socks to stabilize her feet in shoes that were two sizes too big.
“The shorts were way too big and baggy, and I was wearing three pairs of socks,” Crilly added. “I must have looked ridiculous.”
Two more Scotland players were injured during the second half, and Signeul put Crilly into the game. Under normal circumstances that wouldn’t be allowed, but the referee let her play since it was an exhibition. With Scotland trailing 2-1, Crilly took the field. What happened next is the stuff of legends.
In the 78th minute, Crilly received a pass, dribbled inside the penalty area and scored from close range. The game ended in a 2-2 draw, and Crilly could hardly believe what happened.
“I couldn’t believe it when I scored,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Crilly, a student at Stirling University in Scotland, enjoyed a dream Scotland debut that might be coming to the big screen in the near future.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/sazztastical