After playing her final game for Aberdeen Women, defender Carrie Doig has reflected on her near 20-year association with the club.
Doig, 29, joined the then Aberdeen Ladies as a youngster and moved up through the ranks into the senior team.
She played for the women’s team years before they were associated with the men’s club, and was part of the squad that suffered successive relegations to Scotland’s third tier.
However, Doig was one of only a few who stood by the team when it was at its lowest, and those core group of players were to become part of Aberdeen Women, as the team was absorbed by AFC.
In the following seasons, the team would go on to win back-to-back titles and promotion to SWPL 1, which was one of Doig’s fondest memories, describing the achievement as “incredible”.
“I joined Aberdeen Ladies when I was going into my first year of academy, which was almost 18 years ago,” Doig said.
“I played for fun, but I worked my way up the teams and then to be part of the first official women’s team affiliated with AFC – it was a dream in itself.
“To see the team move forward every year, going from strength to strength, winning trophies and then having the chance to play at Pittodrie this year.
“It’s all been a dream I never thought I’d get to experience.”
During her time with the Dons, Doig has played a part in the growth of the women’s game. She feels proud that her and her teammates have helped inspire the next generation.
She said: “We’ve gone from playing at the Sports Village with just our parents watching, to three seasons later, playing at Balmoral Stadium where hundreds of people come out to watch us.
“Kids know our names, have posters of us and are asking for autographs – it’s all a bit surreal.
“You feel like a role model to younger kids and that’s a massive thing for me, to inspire the next generation and keep women’s football growing.”
A promising future for the next generation of Dons
Retiring was not an easy decision for Doig, who is a teacher at Kellands Primary School, but she is proud to leave the club back where it belongs in the top-flight.
Doig made ten appearances in all competitions this term, and feels like she has helped pass the baton on to a squad, who she believes will bring more success to the club.
She said: “I felt a duty within the team to support the younger ones. One of my roles in the team was to help support them coming into the top-flight, it’s a big step to make.
“I wanted to be there for the players and encourage them as they made that next step in their football careers.
“The girls have such a bright future ahead of them. If they keep working hard, they can all go really far.
“Who knows how far they can go. This season we finished fifth, only behind the professional and semi-professional teams.
“It’s amazing to think what they could achieve if we keep putting that support into the team.”
Two great AFC players brought their careers to a close this afternoon.
— Aberdeen FC Women (@AberdeenWomen) May 15, 2022
In her final game for the club, Doig came on as a substitute, replacing departing Dons skipper Kelly Forrest, who she exchanged the captain’s armband with.
And captaining the side for the final minutes of her career ensured Doig signed off her Aberdeen tenure with a special memory.
She said: “It was definitely one of the most special moments for me. I didn’t expect it at all, I was just happy to get on for my final game.
“To be handed the armband was an amazing experience. I was so proud to captain the team that I’ve played for for so many years and the club I’ve supported my whole life.
“It was a really special moment.”