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Smith kicks off her retirement

POSTED ON 08 FEBRUARY 2017

Image copyright bbc.co.uk

 

Having ended her international career in 2015, Arsenal forward Kelly Smith has now hung up her football boots for good – retiring from professional football at the age of 38.

Arsenal forward – and England’s record goal scorer, having scored 46 goals for her country – Kelly Smith has retired from football at the age of 38. Smith became the first female professional footballer when, in 1999, she joined New Jersey – an American team.

Her achievements were far and wide: she earned 117 England caps, represented Team GB at London 2012 and also played in six major tournaments, including winning five FA Cups with Arsenal.

Smith told BBC Sport: “It just feels the time is right now. I think I’ve had a very good career at both international and club level, I’ve travelled the world and, at the age of 38, the body is telling me it needs to stop.

“I don’t have any regrets: I’ve loved every minute of it. Every time I put that England shirt on, I felt a lot of emotion playing for my country. The game is in a magnificent place at the moment and it’s good to step away at the right time.”
Smith, who ended her international career in 2015, played in two World Cups and four European Championships, scoring a goal in the final of Euro 2009.

As well as having successes on the pitch, there were plenty of accolades off the pitch too: including FA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 – and an MBE for services to football. Certainly achievements she can be proud of.

So what now for Smith now that she has officially retired? Having spent the last two full seasons at the Gunners as assistant manager to Pedro Martinez, she is said to be keen to see where her coaching career could take her. However, she acknowledges that hard work is needed to see her coaching develop to the level she wants.

In tribute to the impact that Smith had on the world of women’s football, on February 19th players from around the world are due to participate in a match in Borehamwood – Arsenal Ladies’ home ground.

Did you know?
– In the 2008 Birthday Honours, Smith was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
– The striker scored 46 goals for her country
– Smith earned 117 England caps, played in six major tournaments and won five FA Cups with Arsenal. She also represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics!

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