Aged 17 Eartha Cumings was told she may never play football again but after a long period of hard work, she has been outstanding in her first two games for Charlton Athletic Women.
The team host London City Lionesses on Sunday as part of Women’s Football Weekend and supporters can watch the game for free or pay £2.50 to support the team. Click here for more.
Cumings had dreamed about playing top level football from the age of five, when she fell in love with the idea of being a goalkeeper but she was diagnosed with compartment syndrome and had to undergo surgery.
Now 21, the goalkeeper reflects with positivity: “When I was about 17-and-a-half years, I got a thing called compartment syndrome which is where basically, your muscles swell up and a lot of pressure builds up. I got it in my legs, so a lot of pressure was building up in my legs and my calves. I had to get a fasciotomy, which is where they operate and cut through the fascia of your legs to release some of the pressure and that thankfully worked for me, because it can go really badly. I was out for about eight months and I’ve had several subsequent operations on that, so it was about a year all in all. That was a big one, this is the first time I’ve been playing consistently since that time, so this is really good.
“It was pretty stressful being told that they weren’t sure if you are going to ever play football again. That was pretty scary. I always thought I was going to play again, I always thought it was going to work out even when it was a bit hairy. It was pretty tough but I came out of it positively, so I am pleased about that.”
Cumings hopes to represent Scotland one day and playing football has become all the more important to her after the threat of losing it.
She explained: “I’ve always wanted to be a goalkeeper, ever since I was like five. I played a bit outfield but not a lot. The little interesting intervention, not being able to play much, so I got to see what life was like without football and I decided to keep playing, I didn’t want to stop.
“My first footballing memories I always wanted to be a goalkeeper, I always liked jumping around, getting a bit muddy when I was younger, so it just seemed like the perfect position.”
Cumings broke her wrist shortly after joining Charlton this summer, but returned to action last month and has played very well in the Addicks last two games.
Now here attention is very much on Sunday’s big FA Women’s Championship game. She said: “Preparations are going well after a good performance on Sunday, so hopefully it will be a good game.
“We were really pleased with how we performed [against top-of-the-table Durham, on Sunday]. We really got stuck in, which is something [Manager] Riteesh [Mishra] has been on at us about, we were more in your face and aggressive. It was just gutting to concede with the last kick of the game, we felt we could hold on.”
Sunday’s 1-1 draw ill stand the team in good stead as they look to move up the table.
She said: “As a team I think we’re aiming to finish as high up the table as possible. I think we can really push on and move higher up the table towards the top half, that would be an achievable aim of ours.
“Personally I just want to be playing football again and maybe, maybe get in the Scotland squad.”
Charlton Women host London City Lionesses on Sunday as part of Women’s Football Weekend and supporters can watch the game for free or pay £2.50 to support the team. Click here for more.