Imogen Riches made history as the first women’s goalkeeper to feature on Soccer AM last month. The 23-year-old Hashtag United keeper faced penalties against James Collins and Carlton Cole, denying them both at least once at the spot.
Brought up in Chelmsford, Essex with two older brothers, she told Her Football Hub that she was the ‘annoying younger sister that wanted to be involved with everything they did’.
Before joining a girls’ side, Riches spent her weekends playing with a boys’ team at her local park. She went on to play for Colchester United and London Bees before leaving to study BA Hons Product Design at Coventry University.
But the trusty keeper hasn’t always found herself between the posts. Originally, she played further up the pitch, idolising West Ham legend Teddy Sheringham.
“I guess you could say he was my inspiration but then I’ve ended up being a goalkeeper so not quite sure what happened there,” Riches laughed. The Hammers fan loved Sheringham so much that she ‘had a picture of him in a photo album labelled saying he was my favourite player ever’.
During her time at Coventry University, she played football ‘for fun’ every week for the University’s women’s football team. After graduating, she found herself at Esports club Hashtag United where she’s ‘settled in well’.
“I’m lucky because I also get to play with girls who have been my best friends since we played together when we were 12, so it feels like a reunion for me.”
Soccer AM Call Up
After making a crucial fingertip save for United at the beginning of October, Riches was contacted to take part in the infamous Soccer AM show which was ‘just all so surreal’.
As the first female goalkeeper on a male-dominated show, she was inevitably ‘so nervous’.
“As soon as I got there though I just forgot about that,” the shot-stopper said. “I was there to have fun and to get to do something that not many people can say they’ve done.
“To bag a penalty save against both James Collins and Carlton Cole made the day feel even more crazy.”
Riches continues making strides in the women’s game and raising the profile of female goalkeepers up and down the country.