Claire Emslie: Scotland’s history maker

Claire Emslie of Everton celebrates after scoring.
Claire Emslie of Everton celebrates after scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 27 March 2022. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

We’re looking at the career of Scottish forward Claire Emslie, who recently signed with Angel City FC.

Born in Penicuik, Edinburgh, Emslie is an underrated player that makes an impact every time she’s on the field. Keep reading to learn more about Emslie’s career, including how she made it into the history books and where her journey has taken her so far.

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At home in the capital

Emslie started her footballing career in 2008, turning out for the Scotland U15s. But she would only make a few appearances in her first year. Eventually, getting picked for the U17s and U19s rosters saw her game time increase, and she scored nine goals in her four years on the youth level.

During this time, Emslie also played collegiate football while studying at Florida Atlantic University in the US. She made 76 appearances in total for The Owls, scoring 29 goals in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division (NCAA).

In 2011, Emslie returned to her hometown to sign for the Scotland capital’s famous Green and Whites, Hibernian. Emslie made a significant impact, netting 18 goals in the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL). In her first year there, Hibs won the Premier League Cup. Emslie would end up jumping between the capital side and her university team during her studies.


In 2016, Emslie would get her first taste of English football after completing her studies in the US. The Scot signed with Women’s Super League 2 side Bristol City. She made 20 appearances for The Vixens, scoring 10 goals in her first 12. Those strikes would help the team secure their promotion to the first division.

Staying in England, Emslie signed for Manchester City in 2017 alongside fellow Scotland teammate and close friend Caroline Weir. Emslie remained in Manchester for two seasons, helping City lift the League Cup and FA Cup.

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The striker also enjoyed a brief stint down under with Melbourne City in 2019. While there, she helped the team secure the Championship in the A-League Women’s division. Emslie contributed five goals and three assists in twelve appearances, providing a constant scoring threat. At the end of the season, she jetted back to England.

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Fresh from the World Cup in 2019, Emslie would return to the states, signing with the Orlando Pride in the NWSL. The Floridian side boasted big names in the world of women’s football at the time, such as Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan and footballing legend Marta. Emslie was only afforded 11 appearances for the Pride as her time was cut short due to the pandemic.

A condensed NWSL tournament cropped up later in 2020. But due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team, the Pride withdrew from the competition.

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Everton and Angel City

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, Emslie returned to ply her trade closer to home when she joined Everton on loan. She then signed for them permanently at the end of 2020.

Emslie quickly proved to be a good signing and a vital player for the Toffees. Using her skills and quick pace, she often used her pace down the left side of the pitch, creating chances and whipping the ball into the box.

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During the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft, the new LA-based side, Angel City FC, selected Emslie’s playing rights. Emslie performed the rest of the 2021/22 WSL season with Everton. But she eventually signed for Angel City in July 2022, making the move to Southern California official.

National team and history maker

Finally getting her call up to the senior squad in 2013, Emslie would make her debut in a friendly against Iceland. Unfortunately, due to her studies abroad, Emslie could not fully commit to the National side and would not be considered for the team for several years.

Shelley Kerr took over the national team in 2017, bringing an injection of new players. Building on the success of Anna Signeul, Kerr was quick to draft in players with plenty to offer, with one of them being Emslie. Back in the UK, Emslie would finally earn her second cap — this time, against Denmark.

Impressed by her performance, Shelley would call upon Emslie in a friendly against Hungary, where she would score her first International Senior goal. A big moment in her career came in 2019 when she received the call-up for the 2019 World Cup. Yet, representing her country in their first-ever appearance at a World Cup was not enough for Emslie. She would write herself into the history books in a group stage game by scoring Scotland’s first-ever goal at a World Cup.

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Emslie has currently racked up 43 appearances for Scotland, proving to be a fundamental part of the starting lineup. Now linking up with exciting players such as Erin Cuthbert and Weir, it’s looking promising for the Scots during the ongoing 2023 World Cup qualifiers.

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