England and Manchester City goalkeepers Karen Bardsley announced her retirement from professional football.
The 37-year-old ends a long career with 82 caps in England.
Bardsley said: “It was obviously quite a difficult decision for me but after much deliberation and unfortunately not on the pitch for a while due to injury, it just felt like the right moment.
“As sad and strange as it is to step down from something that I’ve dedicated my entire life to as a young adult, ultimately it’s something I’m really proud of and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I left no stone unturned didn’t turn around and I have no regrets for how I put in and what I’ve achieved.
“I’m incredibly proud of my career but ultimately I’m really excited about the next steps and what’s to come in the future and I really look forward to giving back to the football community in many other ways.”
Born in the US to British parents, Bardsley made her full England debut in 2005 and has been involved in seven major tournaments, including the 2009 European Championships – when England lost in the final – and the 2012 London Olympics.
She was included in FIFA’s ‘All-Stars Squad’ after the 2015 World Cup when England finished third.
Bardsley played her club football in the United States and Sweden until signing for Lincoln in 2013 before joining City at the end of that season.
The big stopper quickly became an important part of the City team, winning the 2016 Women’s Super League title along with three FA Cups and four League Cups, but injuries have seen her become increasingly marginalized in recent years .
City manager Gareth Taylor said: “Karen has undeniably made her mark on women’s football and I believe her playing career is just the beginning of the huge impact she will leave behind.
“Although her appearances on the pitch were limited during my tenure due to injury, she has remained an integral part of our team and has really made a difference behind the scenes.
“She deserves all the praise she receives and I want to wish her the very best for the future and the next step in her journey.”
Bardsley will be honored in City’s final home game of the WSL season against Birmingham on Wednesday.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/karen-bardsley-retires-england-man-city-b2069821.html Karen Bardsley: The Man City and England goalkeeper announces her retirement