Ripping it up for both Barcelona and Norway, Caroline Graham Hansen is a winger that’s tasted success and wants more. A winger with more tricks than David Blaine, she’s right at home in SoccerBible Volumes: ‘All Power’.

If you ever needed to remind yourself of why the women’s side of the game is so incredibly resilient, forward thinking and emotive, just spend a moment with the Almighty Caroline Graham-Hansen. As eloquent as she is engaged, her words are full of strengh and open minded honesty. From tough tackles and embracing those early days to setting records as she moves into true role model mindset. All the respect is with Caroline.

Can you paint a picture of what was it like to grow up in Norway as a football fan and what was the picture like, what players were your biggest idols growing up?

There wasn't much future for football growing up in Norway, I think my generation was all about men’s football. We had men footballers as our idols who grew up and I think my generation can reflect on that and have the same feeling of how different it was when we grew up.

Looking at going from the under 15's until now, you have experienced a lot in such a small place of time. What was it like being in school whilst being in the national team?

It was weird, at the end it was all natural, like a part of my youth but it was special because I was 15 and being in the national team and far from done with school. But I was just enjoying it and following the path as it was going.

Do you think you were destined to be a footballer? 

I don’t know. I always enjoyed it a lot and I'm happy to be able to do it as a professional but I don’t know if I was destined to be.

Was there anyone growing up that gave you belief and drive to be successful, like a coach or a teacher?

My parents were always very supportive; they always did everything for me to be able to pursue my dream as a footballer. They never had any problems with the fact that I was a girl playing football. They always believed in me and said, as far as you work hard you can do what you want and we will always support you. They gave me the belief when I was growing up – when everyone was saying this, football, was something I couldn't live from financially or make a career out of, they urged me to prove people wrong.

That's amazing to have that kind of support from them when you are young. With any success comes a lot of hard work and difficult moments, what hurdles have you overcome in your journey so far?

I think every successful sportsperson has overcome some kind of injury or some kind of hurdle or difficult part in their career and I'm no different. I had trouble and I had to bounce back from that from a young age and even going forward now. I think in sport you have to overcome the lows as well as the highs in a good way if you want to succeed.

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You've played in different countries – do you enjoy exploring different cities, the mixture of different cultures when you get to travel?

For me the most interesting thing is to get to know the culture and the language because in this way you are able to understand the people that live there. If they have to speak in a different language, they express themselves in a different way and you'll never be able to understand their culture in the same way as you should. I think that is the most fun part of living in different countries, to understand their culture and their language. It's never easy to move away from home, to stay away from your friends and family. I think it's a very nice way to educate yourself on where you've been staying and also invest time in the people, clubs and cultures where you are. I think it's a way of showing respect to the people you are working with every day.

Did you ever imagine you'd be selling out in Camp Nou when you were younger?

No. This is a dream I never had because it was so so far away. I think we never had a dream of doing that, it was more about playing there if we were lucky. To be fair, I wasn't even considering it would happen any time soon and everything went so fast and everyone seemed to have enjoyed how we played so much that they came back for another game. This type of stuff, when you are out there you just have to enjoy, even if you don't win the title it's still incredible the amount of things we have been able to be part of in the last couple of months.

When we were looking at questions, the guys heard that your under 14's coach said you were a bad influence on the boys when you were a kid... tell us a bit about that?

It was a coach that thought I was a bad influence on my teammates. I played the sport since I was a kid and sometimes people have a different opinion about you and I don’t think there's any difference when you're young and when you're an adult. It was his opinion, it was hard for a kid to hear that and you have to overcome what happened. I'm not going to go into a lot of details of what happened but it's one of those things that I think you just have to live through.

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Did you find that you had to face a lot of hurdles and prove to people that as a female footballer you had to break into the male dominated game?

Yeah, I think everyone out there has to somehow prove themselves. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is not equal at all. This means that it doesn’t matter if you play football or you have a normal job, you have to prove yourself as a woman while the men just get to be who they want to be and are accepted for who they are.

To get to where you are, that must give you so much strength knowing how you're breaking down barriers for women in sport, you've proved so many doubters wrong. You've spoken honestly about mental struggles through injuries in the past. Do you think the conversation on mental health needs to be louder?

I think every topic that's hard to talk about should be spoken about louder and mental health is no different there. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people in sport and in general that have this type of trouble somewhere in their life. I don't think anyone goes through their life without having periods in which things are a bit dark or everything is a bit harder than it should be. If me being open can help people to not feel alone and realise that it's okay to ask for help, that’s all I want. In the end, are not going to be able to go through this alone, you should have someone to support you and you need help. I hope that if you are have this type of feelings that you have someone around that can help you take that step to find the help you need.

Definitely. You touched on how talking is such a powerful tool and how being honest and open about these things can make you a stronger role model for people around the world and gives people hope. Do you see that your actions are giving young girls the feeling that they can also do that and have the inspiration? Have you received any messages from fans about you being so open about your mental struggles?

Yes, I think people appreciate when public people are open about it because they can relate and I see that. We are not superhuman, we all have loss, I'm no different. We are very good at playing football, but we are also human beings that happen to have lives outside football, as normal as you can. I just try to be a humble person, if I can help in any way, I will do it. I'm not the type of person that enjoys the spotlight a lot so I try to choose my causes to talk about and hopefully that makes those topics a bit more heard.

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Is it important for you to impact the game for the better, whether that's talking about things that are important for you or driving change for young girls looking to enter the sport?

I want to use my voice but not for overflowing the media picture. I try to let my football talk and then if people want to have a chat I get to use my voice if they ask the right questions about a topic that I'm passionate about. I can share hours with people giving them my opinion to try to make a change. I also know that the media can only do so much so it's the work that happens without people knowing that it's going to make the change for the people that come after me and the generations after me. I try to stay focused on the things I can make a change about and at the moment is to play football and try to enjoy myself. If I can use my voice to make a change, I will do that.

We spoke about selling out the Camp Nou, playing for you national team, what are your dreams that you are yet to achieve?

Hopefully to sell out Camp Nou again and stay in this club, be part of this journey. What we are doing right now in Barcelona is very special, it is very different. I think its creating so many dreams that every girl out there is thinking, I want to be part of that. I don’t think it's happened before in the way it's happening now and I hope I can be a part of this as long as possible. Hopefully one day soon there will be new young me taking over and continuing the journey, that would be great.

Looking forward to this upcoming summer, how do you feel, are you prepared? How does the perfect summer on the pitch look for you?

Enjoyment. I hope that the stress doesn’t overtake my enjoyment of playing football for my country in a big tournament. This is my hopes and dreams for this summer because if I’m not enjoying, I don’t think it's worth my time. We train so much and travel so much all year and if we come to the Euros and it's so stressful, you are not enjoying it's not worth the time.

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What about off the pitch? What do you like to do to relax when you get a chance? I can imagine your schedule is quite hectic…

I like to read, watch series, football, stay in touch with friends and family. Disconnect from the hectic everyday life that we have. When you're a footballer everyone presumes that you have so much time to do whatever you like but, to be fair, we only have four-five weeks every year when we are free to plan your own time. The rest of the year you have a training schedule, places to be and places to go and if you don't you get fired. I'm just trying to disconnect and spend my time on stupid stuff because when I have to be on training again, I have to be so on. At the point I am now I'm just trying to enjoy the things I can out of football as much as possible without wasting energy, because again it's what you do on the field every day.

You said you like to watch series, are you watching anything that you love at the moment?

I started to watch all the Grey's Anatomy again, I watched it all but I decided I wanted to watch from zero just for fun. I also watch a lot of Disney movies, I'm going through Disney+ I think they are great memories from my childhood and there are great movies. If it's a good movie or an exciting documentary it has to be catchy and I'm in.

One final question: looking even further than this summer, looking into the future, is there a legacy that you dream to create, whether that's in or outside of football?

I just want to be remembered for being a good human being, anything less I would regret anything I did on the field. Everything that is happening with our game and how the men's game is all about fame and money, to be fair I just want to be remembered as a good human being. I try as much as I can wherever I go, but like I said before we all have flaws. But if people can remember me like this when I'm in the game, I'm super happy.

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