A former Premier League goalkeeper who represented Liverpool, West Brom, Wigan Athletic and more, Chris Kirkland is an excellent mental health speaker. Despite living the dream of being a professional footballer Chris has suffered many low moments on the pitch. Having battled depression and many dark moments Chris is an inspirational advocate for mental health. During his mental health speaking events he is able to talk about these low moments as well as how he overcame them on his path to recovery.
Over the course of his 18-year professional career, Chris played over 300 matches for a number of huge clubs including European heavyweights, Liverpool. Joining the club in 2001, he was originally signed as competition for number one Jerzy Dudek. This role saw him play a key role in the sides historic Champions League win in 2005, something he can discuss at length during his speaking occasions. Chris’ excellent performances earned him an England call-up in 2006 making his debut against Greece. Chris spent most of his career with Wigan where he played more than 100 times and he also represented Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday amongst others.
His career began with Coventry City where he forged a reputation as one of the best young goalkeepers in the country. Making his debut for the club in 1999 he was soon named their ‘Player of the Year’ before being scooped up by Liverpool.
After retiring in 2016 Chris revealed that he’d been battling depression for four years. A combination of injuries and the relentless demands placed on footballers led him to start feeling low and at all of his mental health speaking events he is open and honest about these experiences.
As well as his speaking occasions Chris has worked as a coach managing Liverpool’s women’s team. He’s also set up the Chris Kirkland Goalkeeper Academy which helps kids learn the skills to make it in the game.
Having opened the conversation surrounding his mental health struggles in 2017, Chris has continued to use his platform to share his experiences to support others in seeking help. To give individuals an outlet for their experiences, Chris launched the social media platform YAPA (You Are Perfect Always) where users have a safe space to express their emotions. Chris credits the ability to speak out and exercise with his recovery.
An instantly recognisable footballer, Chris’ charismatic and likeable personality sees him win over audiences wherever he goes. Whether he’s talking about his successful football career or his battle with mental health, he leaves an impact time and time again.