Chesterfield's Millie Bright would never have been selected for England's World Cup squad - had she pursued her first sporting love.
The Chelsea centre-back will be bidding for glory when the Lionesses travel to France for the World Cup.
But, in an interview with the Sun, she revealed how horse racing was always her first love.
Bright said: “I was probably on a horse before the age of three. From a very young age I could ride on my own, work, trot, you name it.
“Back then, I didn’t have great balance so there were lots of falls but I just got back up and went again. It didn’t matter if I picked up a few bruises.
“I don’t think I started kicking a ball until I was six or seven. Horses were my first love so I was occupied with that.
“Until I was about ten I wasn’t that good. I just had loads of energy and loved running around.”
But Bright's football career began to take shape when she joined Killamarsh Dynamos after being encouraged by a friend.
She added: “The next thing you know her dad, my first coach, is waving papers at my mum and dad trying to get me to sign.
"Tournament days with mum and dad when I played for Killamarsh as a kid were the best.
"Saturday mornings running down the road to the ground fully kitted up with my boots on. Mum used to wave me off and then come for kick off.
From there I joined Sheffield’s academy and it’s been all about progression since."
Bright left Sheffield to join Doncaster Belles in 2009, although she credits a loan move to Leeds with kick-starting her career. She said: “I needed to just go and enjoy the game to develop. It was the best decision I could have made. I played every game and scored loads of goals.
“That’s when I was picked up by England Under-19s. It was all a whirlwind because I had gone away to pick up experience and the next thing I know I’m getting an England call-up.
“I keep pinching myself every day. I just want girls to see that they can do it, no matter what their background or what school they’re at. The opportunities are there.”