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Leigh Nicol

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Leigh Nicol
Nicol with London Bees, 2015
Personal information
Full name Leigh Caitlyn Nicol[1]
Date of birth (1995-09-26) 26 September 1995 (age 28)[2]
Place of birth Bellshill, Scotland
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
2009–2012 Celtic
2013 Arsenal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014 Reading Women 4 (0)
2015 London Bees[3] 9 (1)
2016–2018 Millwall Lionesses[4] 28 (1)
2018–2020 Charlton Athletic 7 (0)
2020–2023 Crystal Palace 14 (0)
International career
2009 Scotland U16 1 (0)
2010–2012 Scotland U17 6 (1)
2012–2014 Scotland U19 4 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Leigh Caitlyn Nicol (born 26 September 1995) is a Scottish retired footballer who last played for Crystal Palace in the English FA Women's Championship.

Club career[edit]

Raised in Newarthill,[5] Nicol started her footballing career at Motherwell Girls where she was captain of her age group from 2006 to 2008. She then moved onto Celtic's Academy where she captained the club's under-15, under-17 and reserve sides. With Celtic Nicol also won the SWF Scottish U17 Cup title in 2011.[6][7]

She then moved to London in 2012 to secure a place at Arsenal's prestigious academy where she could continue her education whilst training and playing for the club's reserve side.[5][8]

An opportunity to play first team football opened up when former Arsenal Ladies player Jayne Ludlow became manager of FA WSL 2 club Reading Women. This move led to Nicol and a number of other Arsenal reserve players joining Reading in 2014.[9] Nicol had some success playing first team football for Reading but after one season she left at the beginning of 2015 to join London Bees to get more first team opportunities.[3]

In February 2016 Nicol announced that she had signed for Millwall Lionesses.[4][10] She went on to win the club's Player of the Year award in 2017.[11]

Nicol announced her retirement from professional football in August 2023.

International career[edit]

Nicol represented Scotland at under-16 level in a Challenge Match against Wales in November 2009. She also went on to play seven times for the under-17s and got on the scoresheet in a 5–0 win over Wales in April 2012. Her international career continued and she also went on to make a number of appearances at under-19 level; notable matches she was involved in at this level were a 7–3 win over Italy and a 14–1 victory against Georgia.

Personal life[edit]

Her grandfather Jimmy Welsh was a footballer who played for Airdrieonians in the 1950s.[5]

In 2021, Nicol spoke of her struggle to maintain her mental health following an incident of phone hacking two years earlier in which personal videos were circulated online.[12][13]



  • SWF Scottish Youth Cup: 2011[7]



  1. ^ "List of Players under Written Contract Registered Between 01/03/2015 and 31/03/2015" (PDF). The Football Association. p. 3. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Leigh Nicol". Scottish FA.co.uk.
  3. ^ a b "Nicol and Williams sign from Reading". London Bees WSL.com.
  4. ^ a b "Leigh Nicol (Millwall)". FAWSL.com.
  5. ^ a b c "Budding Scotland star Leigh Nicol's dream move to Arsenal Ladies". Daily Record.co.uk. 29 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Leigh Nicol- Reading WFC". FAWSL.com.
  7. ^ a b "SWF Youth Cup Final". Youth Football Scotland.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Scotland starlet on the verge of dream Arsenal move". Youth Football Scotland.co.uk.
  9. ^ "Women add to squad". Reading FC.co.uk.
  10. ^ "Millwall Lionesses add three signings to their squad". Millwall.co.uk.
  11. ^ a b "Player of the Year Awards". FAWSL.com.
  12. ^ Leigh Nicol exclusive interview: How phone hack traumatised Crystal Palace player and her inspiring recovery, Adam Bate, Sky Sports, 4 February 2021
  13. ^ Leigh Nicol: Crystal Palace midfielder hopes to raise awareness by speaking about hack ordeal, BBC Sport, 4 February 2021

External links[edit]