The FA have announced that former England captain Casey Stoney MBE is today retiring as a player, bringing to an end a glittering career with club and country. But it’s not an ending per se, more of a new beginning.
The news coincides with Liverpool defender Stoney joining the England Women backroom staff as part of The FA’s new player to coach scheme. She will work alongside head coach Phil Neville for next month’s SheBelieves Cup in the United States and the remaining FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. In the US tournament, England take on France, Germany and the hosts before heading home for a vital World Cup qualifier against Wales to be played in Southampton on Friday 6 April. Stoney won 130 caps for the Lionesses and played an integral part in England’s rise to become the third-ranked team in the world, including being part of the squad that took the bronze medal at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Having spent two years as England skipper, she captained Team GB in five matches at the 2012 Olympics in London, including scoring in the 3-0 defeat of Cameroon in Cardiff before leading the team to a memorable 1-0 win over Brazil at Wembley Stadium.
Casey Stoney, who was made an MBE for services to football in June 2015, said: “Although I am sad to be hanging up my boots, I do so proud of what I have achieved and with great optimism about what the future holds for the women’s game. With that in mind, I am hugely excited about starting my next chapter as part of Phil Neville’s Lionesses backroom team.
“I am thoroughly looking forward to working with Phil, who is an excellent choice to take the women’s game forward. I talked to him at length before accepting the job and was hugely impressed with his vision, passion and eagerness to learn. I will be doing everything possible to support him alongside finishing my coaching badges.”
The 35-year-old began at Chelsea before heading to Arsenal and then Charlton Athletic. A return to Chelsea followed before spells at Lincoln and Arsenal, where she won her third Women’s FA Cup with a 1-0 defeat of Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in 2016, before moving on to Liverpool. Notably, from an international perspective, Stoney played in the 2009 UEFA Women’s Euro final before that 2015 World Cup third place and was named in the squad that reached the Euro 2017 semi-finals.
Phil Neville, England Head Coach, said: “Casey has been a wonderful player for England and I am delighted she will continue to help the team with her new position. She has tremendous knowledge of the game and will be invaluable in helping us to take the team up another level. From working with her already and seeing at first-hand the hunger she has to pass on her experience, I am sure Casey will go on to have a coaching career that rivals what she did on the pitch.”
Sue Campbell, FA Director of Women’s Football, said: “I would like to thank Casey for the immense contribution she has made to women’s sport in this country. What she has achieved in nearly two decades in the game is remarkable and she has certainly helped pave the way for future generations, particularly in terms of her professionalism and passion. She has simply been the example for others to follow.
“Her new role means she will continue to be such a positive influence on the England team going forward, and it is great to have her leading the way on our new player-to-coach programme. This is such an important area for us as we look to increase coaching opportunities for all.”
As part of recent changes made at St. George’s Park and the new England Women’s coaching structure, The FA is rolling out a new player-to-coach programme. The programme aims to give elite women’s players the opportunity to develop as coaches and prepare them for UEFA A and Pro Licence courses. They will receive individual development plans, mentoring and the chance to work with England Women’s teams across all age groups along with FA WSL clubs.
FA Chairman Greg Clarke said: “When it comes to acknowledging the true greats of English football, Casey Stoney has to be ranked among them. To earn 130 caps, win a World Cup bronze medal, captain Team GB at the Olympics and stay at the top of the club game for 17 years is truly special.
“While she has shone as a player, Casey has also embraced The FA’s efforts to grow the women’s game, becoming a remarkable ambassador for all. She has doubtless inspired many to follow in her footsteps, and I am sure this will continue to be the case as her England coaching career develops.”
England Women will depart for the SheBelieves Cup in the United States this Sunday [25 February] with the travelling squad set to be announced on Tuesday [20 February]. The first match will be against France [Thursday 1 March], before games against Germany [Sunday 4 March] and the US [Wednesday 7 March] respectively. All three matches will be broadcast live on BBC.
The tournament will be followed by a World Cup qualifier against Wales at St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton on Friday 6 April.
Tickets for the Wales match are already on sale. Children and concessions tickets are just £1 and group booking and Charter Standard discounts apply. Tickets can be purchased at www.TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 02381 780 780. For more information please visit: www.TheFA.com/England