Reading midfielder and England legend Fara Williams has announced her intention to hang up her boots and retire from professional football at the end of the season.
Williams, who turned 37 in January, is England’s most capped player of all time, male or female, having made 172 appearances for the Lionesses in an international career that began in 2001.
Coming towards the end of her contract with Reading, she has rejected offers to carry on with her playing career and will instead look to establish a post-playing career by continuing to earn coaching qualifications, as well as look for opportunities in media work.
Overcoming substantial adversity, Williams was homeless for a significant period during her early career and has been a pioneer of burgeoning professionalism in women’s football in England.
She started her career at Chelsea, before moving on to Charlton, Everton, Liverpool and Arsenal, joining final club Reading in 2017. She won has trophies almost everywhere, including back-to-back WSL titles with Liverpool in 2013 and 2014.
With England, Williams has been to three World Cups in 2007, 2011 and 2015, as well as four European Championship tournaments. She was also included in the Great Britain squad that contested the 2012 Olympic Games on home soil.
Williams scored the goal that secured England’s third place finish at the 2015 World Cup, a best ever finish on the world stage. Her omission from the Lionesses squad for the 2019 World Cup drew criticism as a result of her ongoing form and contributions in the WSL with Reading.
She was the FA Women’s Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year in 2002 and 2009 respectively, as well as England’s International Player of the Year in 2007 and 2009.