Following yesterday’s announcement that Royals midfielder and pioneer of women’s football Fara Williams will be retiring at the end of the season, she has released a statement detailing her difficult decision.
Below, Williams explains the tough choice she has had to make, discusses her career and the colossal growth of the women’s game, something she has been a monumental part of during her 20 year career.
After much consideration and despite offers to remain within the game, I have made the difficult decision to retire from professional football at the end of this season.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have had a career of more than 20 years within the women’s game, with some incredible highs, including winning the Women’s Super League, two Women’s Premier League Cups and two FA Women’s Cup Titles, as well as earning 172 caps for the England National Team.
When I look back on my career at standout moments, I always return to making my Home debut for England, which was beyond my wildest dreams. This was when I really got a sense of what it means to represent your country. It has been an absolute honour to make the most appearances for England of any player.
I have experienced the rise of women’s football first-hand, with the game turning professional during my career. I would like to thank some key figures who have helped to grow the women’s game and, on a personal level, helped me to succeed and overcome adversity. They have proved to me that with hard-work and determination, anything is possible.
My coaches as a youth player and throughout my career, in particular, Hope Powell and Mo Marley, who helped me develop both within the game and on a personal level. In addition, figures such as Tony Leighton, a journalist who used to promote the women’s game when no one else was. He would travel to international fixtures alone, to report on our games. Without the support and dedication of individuals such as those mentioned above, I don’t think the game would be where it is now.
These pioneers laid the foundations for the platform that we have today within the women’s game and have made such a difference for young women, who now know they can have a career in football and that dreams can come true.
I would like to thank all of my former clubs, managers and teammates, as well as the fans for their incredible support. A special mention to my family and friends and my management company, New Era Global Sports, who have supported me on every step of my journey and will continue to assist me in the transition into life after playing.
Playing football is all I have ever known, but I am excited for the next chapter of my life. I look forward to remaining within the game, pursuing opportunities within the media and continuing my coaching badges.
Thank you for everything,
After much consideration & despite offers to remain within the game, I have made the difficult decision to retire from professional football at the end of the season.— Fara Williams MBE (@fara_williams47) April 26, 2021
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have had a career of more than 20 years within the women’s game ⚽️❤️ pic.twitter.com/Z9YWEcgdzi