Ramona Bachman has plenty of experience at the top level of the women’s game, but the prospect of playing the opening fixture of the 2019 Barclays Women's Super League against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge is still something that excites her.

The WSL returns this weekend, and amongst the opening fixtures for the 2019 season are some standout matches, not just because of the teams involved but because of their location, with Chelsea set to host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. It’s the first time the women’s team will play at the Bridge, but having played at the World Cup and domestically in Sweden, the U.S., Germany, and now England, Bachman is not phased by the prospect. Ahead of the season opener we sat down with the Swiss international to talk about her career to date, the growth of the women’s game and her legacy.

What goes through your head when you think about walking out at Stamford Bridge?

It’s obviously everyones dream. I’ve been playing professionally for a very long time and usually in the women’s game we don’t have that many people in the stadium, it’s only usually when you play in the FA Cup or the European Championships or big games, so getting to start the season like this is great. For me personally these are the best games because I just love playing in front of a big crowd. You don’t hear anything and you just focus on yourself. The only thing you have is yourself. You can’t hear anything so you have to trust in what you are doing. I just love it.

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Can you tell us about your story from your perspective? How do you describe your journey from where you started as a kid to where you are now?

I got my first professional contract when I was 16, so I went to Sweden and I was quite young. I played there for four seasons and then I got an offer to play in the U.S. which was a professional league and quite a lot of big names went over there, so for me that was really interesting. I was only 19 at the time so I really wanted to experience it. It was a good experience, but it wasn’t the best, because I had to travel for the national team. There was a lot of travelling, always. So for me, one season was enough. I knew I had to go back to Europe. So I went back to Sweden for another four years with Rosengård, then went to Germany to play with Wolfsburg, and then came to Chelsea.

What’s Scandinavia as a whole like for women that want to get into football? Did you encounter any barriers?

Not at all actually. It’s probably the best place because people are really open and they try to push equality. Every year they have a big football awards gala where they have not only best player, they have the best defender, best goalkeeper, best midfielder, best forward, everything. And it’s all announced with the men, so you actually go on stage with the men. It’s just really, really big. They really push for it so it was always very accepted when I was playing there.

Do you think the rest of the football world is just catching up on that?

Well slowly, finally. We’re getting there. I feel like in this specific area, Sweden or Scandinavia as a whole is quite far ahead, because they’ve always been pushing for it.

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I don’t feel like any other women’s team in the world has what we have."

How much has the game changed in your time?

It has definitely changed a lot. I feel like women’s football has come a long way. Obviously we’re still fighting to get a lot of people to our games. It’s different to the World Cup, we had a lot of people at the World Cup in France. Also in the Champions League we get a good crowd. But during the season, I think that’s our biggest thing that we’re fighting against, to get more people to the game. That’s why I think the game against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge is going to be really big. We’re definitely going to appreciate it. Hopefully we can push to get more games like that.

What’s it like being at a club like Chelsea, do you feel like they are pushing hard for equality?

Yeah, I came here two and a half years ago and I can feel a big difference already. Every year they raise the level and I feel that right now I’m at the point where I can say I don’t feel like any other women’s team in the world – club team that is, maybe the USWNT has it – but have what we have. It makes everything better and it makes players want to stay. You even want to push yourself harder because you feel like you get a lot from the club so you want to give them something back. 

What do you feel football has given you?

Football is about winning and winning titles. Those are the moments that are going to stay the longest. So all the titles that I’ve won in Sweden, in Germany, and here with Chelsea. Also the personal trophies. But I also feel that football is about the people that you meet; you make friends for life. That doesn’t have to do with football, but that’s something that I think is amazing as well. You know people all around the world and you stay connected.

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No one asks about how many finals you’ve played in and lost. So for me I want to push and win as many titles as possible with the team."

You’ve played in a lot of different leagues across the world. How does each one compare and what do you make of the WSL in comparison?

It’s quite hard because I feel like every year in every country it’s getting better, so it’s hard to compare. I feel like, right now, the English league is the best, because now with Tottenham and Manchester United coming up, there’s so many teams competing at the highest level to win titles. So that’s why I think that this league is the best at the moment. Two years ago I said that Germany was, but now I feel like it dropped a little bit, with so many players coming to England. Same as in Sweden. I feel that Sweden hasn’t really got the finances at club level to invest as much money as clubs in other countries. It might still be better for young talent. But right now I’d definitely say that the English league is the best league.

You can claim something that not many people can, having scored at the World Cup finals. Do you still have the match ball?

Yes, I do. I have it at home. 

Do you collect or keep hold of any trinkets or souvenirs, like shirts or things like that?

Yes, I actually have a big collection of shirts. That’s my thing. No one can touch them. My mum will sometimes have people over and they’re asking to see the shirts but I tell her that she can’t touch my shirts. Sometimes I keep shirts from myself to then change with players. After my career, I’m going to look back and have a lot of shirts from players I’ve played against or played with, so that’s special.

Do you have any shirts that standout as your favourites?

Well I have a lot of good players. You probably know Hope Solo, she’s a big profile in America and I played with her, so I got her national team shirt, which I think is quite cool. Then Carli Lloyd, who won best player. I’ve got her national shirt. And I’ve got Marta’s club shirt, but I’m missing her Brazilian shirt. I never thought about changing that with her, so maybe I need to do that before she stops. 

Is there one player you’d love to swap shirts with that you haven’t yet?

I think that would obviously be the Brazilian Marta shirt. Like I said, I’ve got her club shirt, but I want to get her Brazilian shirt. I’ve played alongside her when I was 16 and she’s been my role model. She helped me a lot. 

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You’re part of a generation that’s really changed the game. Do you feel proud of that and the impact that you’ve had on the game?

Yeah definitely, and I feel that it has been growing a lot. Maybe a few years ago I didn't have as many fans as I have now but that’s also because women’s football has been pushing and getting better, but also because we have been promoting ourselves and the teams more. So it’s a proud moment to have so many fans that look up to me. I get a lot of messages saying that they want to be as good as I am. It makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing. 

What would you like your legacy in the game to be?

For me I want to win titles, as many titles as possible. After your career you’re going to say I won that many titles. No one asks about how many finals you’ve played in and lost. So for me I want to push and win as many titles as possible with the team, but also personally. I also just want to be a better person everyday. I want to be an idol and a role model for all kinds of people. I feel like I already am but I want to push myself to be better.

How much would you like to play at stadiums like Stamford Bridge regularly?

It makes it more interesting for the people that come to our games in a big stadium. I feel that people find it more interesting. If we can do it more often in the future then that would be great.

Photography by Madison Phipps for SoccerBible.