England record caps holder Fara Williams to retire

Fara Williams announces her retirement
Photo: Paul Currie for The FA

Reading FC Women’s England international Fara Williams MBE will be retiring from professional football at the end of the season.

The most capped England footballer of all time with 172 appearances, Williams started in Chelsea’s youth sides before rising through the ranks to the first team. Following a spell at Charlton Athletic, the midfielder scored 70 goals in 122 games for Everton and then joined Liverpool, with whom she won back-to-back WSL titles. After spending 18 months with Arsenal, she signed for Reading in 2017.

Williams represented Great Britain five times in the 2012 Olympic Games, and was awarded the MBE in 2016.

Her Lionesses debut came against Portugal in 2001, the return fixture saw her first start aged 18 and brought her first goal from a free kick. She was a UEFA Women’s Championship runner-up in  2009 and also in the England squad that finished third at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Fara Williams to retire
Fara Williams during a World Cup play-off in 2010. (Photo: The FA via Getty Images)

Royals manager Kelly Chambers told readingfc.co.uk: “What a career this women has had. From young girl just wanting to play football to 172 caps for England. Fara has been absolutely fantastic for this club, the staff and the players.

“I simply cannot speak highly enough of Fara. She has been such an instrumental part in our development and success as a club and we will be forever grateful.

“Fara will be missed on the pitch, but I wish her the very best in her next chapter. I have no doubt she will be successful in whatever she chooses to do. Her knowledge of the game is second to none, as is the hunger and desire she has to learn and develop. She is a true idol to any young female football out there.”

Barclays FA Women’s Super League joins social media boycott

Would you like to read more women’s football news just like this? Sign up to receive the She Kicks Women’s Football newsletter