Celebrations for 50th anniversary of England women’s team

England v Germany - UEFA Womens Euro 2022 Final -
Pedro Soares/SheKicks / SPP

The Lionesses international against USA at Wembley Stadium on Friday 7 October will be dedicated to the 50th anniversary of England women’s team.

More than 100 former England women’s internationals are expected to attend the fixture as guests of The FA, which sees the 2022 European Champions welcome the current World Champions in front of a sell-out Wembley Stadium connected by EE.

As part of the celebrations, members of the inaugural team who made history when they played Scotland in the first full international on 18 November 1972 will play a key role in proceedings, lining up with the current generation and
representatives from an England development team ahead of kick-off. Attendees from the 1972 team will also receive a bespoke England cap on the evening as part of a special presentation. All former players in attendance will be invited pitch-side at half-time to receive the acknowledgement of the crowd.

In line with the anniversary, the England women’s team will mirror the men’s senior team by adopting the tradition of legacy numbers. The initiative will celebrate the individuals who hold the honour of representing the nation at
women’s senior level with their own unique number.

All former players have been identified via a thorough research programme commissioned by The FA with the ambition to better recognise the history of the women’s game. JJ Heritage, former members of the WFA, FIFA, UEFA, the National Football Museum, the British Library and other members of the women’s football family have been central to its creation.

The legacy numbers will be announced on Friday 18 November 2022, the team’s official anniversary, and will allow all former and current players to collectively acknowledge their own part in England’s history. The legacy numbers will then be worn in England’s matchday shirts from 2023 onwards.

Every former player will in due course receive a special velvet cap with their newly-established legacy number embroidered on the front.

Sarina Wiegman, England Women’s head coach, said: “We are all grateful to the former generation of players who have paved the way for today’s growth and success. All of them represented their country with so much talent but also fought so hard on and off the pitch to break barriers and make the women’s game what it now is. The players today also know the challenges they faced and appreciate everything that has been done to give them the opportunities they now have. It is great we can say thank you to the Lionesses legends.”

Kay Cossington, Head of Women’s Technical at The FA, said: “The USA game will be a fantastic chance to celebrate and thank all the Lionesses who have worn the shirt with pride since 1972. The FA is indebted to every former player, all of whom are valued members of the ‘England family’. The summer’s success and sell-out crowds at Wembley Stadium would not be possible without them and we hope they can reflect on the role they have played and they enjoy their evening.

“We are also indebted to many in the women’s football family who have helped collate this historic list. In particular, Professor Jean Williams and Patricia Gregory, who have worked tirelessly with FA colleagues to make this happen.”

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