When Kathrine was coolly five years old and grew up in the small Danish town of Hillerød, she joined a women’s football team. Hillerød has a small population of just over 36,000, but unlike many other Arsenal players, Kühl never had to play with boys because their women’s football was available.
“I was very lucky that they had a girls’ team in almost all age categories,” says the 20-year-old Danish midfielder. “So I just started playing. It was my parents who created the little club for me because I wanted to play sports, then they said: “Oh, there is something called football. Would you like to try it?’”
Kühl joined Arsenal in January from Nordsjælland, the club that recruited them from Hillerød Fodbold in 2018. She is part of the generation that has benefited from the fact that women’s and women’s football is accessible and normal. “It caught me pretty early and I realized that I was good with the ball,” Kühl says.
“I remember that one of my first experiences was that we played a tournament with the school every year. We were very young, I think I was five at the time, and everyone was saying to my parents: “You can really see that Kathrine is good with the ball.’
“At this age, your mind is different everywhere. Someone was dancing on the pitch and others were running and couldn’t hit the ball in the right direction, but it came naturally to me and I felt really good on the pitch.”
It also goes without saying that Kühl likes working with the girls at the grassroots. Their latest step is the Uefa WePlayStrong campaign, which, in partnership with Visa, gives UK grassroots teams a chance to win a training session with Kühl or England international Jess Carter.
“When I look back when I was young and I was playing with all the girls my age, it was a real privilege that we had so many girls who could play, but I feel like we can still excite many more girls and women in football,” says Kühl. “Because the Sport is growing. When I’m on the field and doing my best, I feel like the little girl from my hometown playing, having fun and not thinking about too many other things.”