As Mary Earps becomes the first ever goalkeeper to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year: 6 surprising fun facts you didn't know about her

The former MC UK Guest Editor is a jack of all trades.

Mary Earps winning Sports Personality of the Year
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's no doubt it's been quite the year for Mary Earps. The former Marie Claire UK Guest Editor and a key part of the Lionesses' successful Euros win last summer, she's not only the Queen of TikTok, but one of the most celebrated female footballers of all time.

Mary's on-pitch accolades include being crowned Fifa's Best Goalkeeper in the World, and this year, she came fifth in the prestigious Women’s Ballon d’Or - the highest position a goalkeeper has ever ranked. 

Oh, and there's the small matter of being crowned Sports Personality of the Year 2023 on Tuesday night, making Mary the 70th person to win the award and the first ever goalkeeper, beating the likes of cricketer Stuart Broad, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and jockey Frankie Dettori.

Chatting to Health Editor Ally Head earlier this summer for MC UK's Women In Sport special, she was candid, approachable and down to earth, despite her enormous success. Reflecting on the criticism she'd received, she shared: "There are still a lot of people who don’t think I’m good at what I do, and that’s totally fine - I’m never going to be everybody's cup of tea."

Mary Earps wears a corset-style gown from London-based designer David Koma

Mary Earps wore a corset-style gown from London-based designer David Koma

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But as well as her triumphs on the pitch, one of the reasons for Mary's huge popularity is her passion and relatability. During that particularly tumultuous England vs Spain game at the 2023 World Cup in Sydney, the goalkeeper screaming expletives after an impressive save quickly became the moment of the game. 

Mary also showed her fighting spirit by approaching Nike after they failed to sell her football shirt, much to the disappointment of fans. It was this move that prompted teammate Jess Carter to call Mary an "inspiration" for young women and girls - taking on such a massive global brand is no mean feat (with success, might we add, as Nike did a complete U-Turn releasing a limited edition set of replica shirts that rapidly sold out).

The goalkeeper has also had to overcome some struggles on her way to success, having been famously left out of the England line-up before Sarina Wiegman’s arrival as England manager two years ago. Mary graciously accepted not being a part of the squad and held "no resentment" (via Telegraph Sport) over the decision, only to return to the team with the fighting spirit that's cemented the goalie's popularity on and off the pitch. As far as comeback stories go, Mary's is definitely up there as one of the most powerful.

In celebration of 2023's Sports Personality of the Year Mary Earps, here are six fun facts things you might not know about the trailblazing goalkeeper. 

6 things you might not know about Mary Earps

1. She's got some seriously impressive party tricks

We have it on good authority that Mary can pick up an apple using just her biggest two toes. But we suppose it's no surprise someone considered one of the world's best goalkeepers would be so dextrous. Mary also has a black belt in judo, which we're sure makes for another impressive party trick. 

Oh, and did we mention being able to dance to the Macarena in unison with her teammates, feet completely off the floor? Girls got skills. 

@1maryearps

♬ Macarena - Stavros Martina

2. Her first sporting passion wasn't football

While the goalkeeper looks like she was born to play the beautiful game, her first sporting love was actually horse riding. Speaking to The Sun, Mary shared: "I was probably on a horse before the age of three. From a very young age I could ride on my own, work, trot, you name it. Back then, I didn’t have great balance so there were lots of falls but I just got back up and went again. It didn’t matter if I picked up a few bruises."

3. Mary's an absolute TikTok Queen

Mary's also kind of a big deal on TikTok, just to add being a social media star as another string to her bow. Her TikTok account @1maryearps currently has one million followers and 16.7 million likes (and counting!) Mary posts behind-the-scenes clips of herself and her teammates both at home and on their travels. 

4. Mary is the joker of the pack

As we've seen on Mary's social accounts and her meme-worthy reactions on the pitch, she likes to see the funny side. “I’m very much a goofball,” Earps shared with GQ. “I try not to take myself too seriously."

@1maryearps

♬ original sound - Mary Earps

5. Mary's one to watch in the fashion stakes

We may associate Mary with her famous goalie kit, but she's no stranger to a glamorous red carpet-look. Her most recent off-duty outfit worn for Sports Personality of the Year 2023, saw the goalkeeper dressed in a lingerie-inspired £1,460 gown designed by Georgia-born, London-based designer David Koma.

Mary has also launched her own clothing line, Mary Alexandra Earps or MAE27 for short, which urges fans to be "unapologetically yourself". You can view the range here.

Mary said of the launch (via Manchester World): "A lot of sweat and tears have gone into this but I'm chuffed to be able to bring this little idea to life. I've wanted to do this for such a long time but never took the plunge because I didn't have a scooby where to start - I still don't but I've gone for it anyway."

6. Mary has a personal mantra we should all live by

While it might not come as a big surprise that Mary has a match-day mantra, its affirming words are something we would all benefit from telling ourselves before going into any high-pressure scenario. 

To pep herself up come game day, Mary reassures herself to "go and give it your best shot" - and it's safe to say she's definitely followed through with that one. 

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.


She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.