Gilly Flaherty announces her retirement from football


Liverpool and former England defender Gilly Flaherty has announced her retirement from professional football at the age of 31.

The defender holds the record for the most appearances in WSL history with 177.

She started her professional career in 2006 with Arsenal, but she also found success at Chelsea, West Ham and most recently Liverpool after joining the reds in 2022.

The former West Ham captain was with the club for four years before moving to Liverpool last summer.

She made her 176th WSL appearance against Brighton last November, this saw her break former England teammate Jill Scott’s previous record of 175 WSL appearances.

In her 16-year playing career, she has won four WSL titles, seven Women’s FA Cup’s and a UEFA Cup. As well as holding the record for the most appearances, she also scored the first goal in WSL history against Chelsea in 2011.

The 31-year-old has decided to retire for family reasons.

Flaherty said: “I’ve taken the decision to retire from professional football. It isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly but one I’ve reached after speaking with those closest to me,

“Losing my dad just before Christmas has left me heartbroken – for 22 years we shared our love of football and playing wise I don’t want to carry on without him by my side.

“Playing-wise I know the right decision is for me to call it a day. The time is right for me to be around my family and to be nearest to those closest to me.

“I’d like to thank all the managers I’ve played under, from beginning at Millwall, through Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and now Liverpool,” added Flaherty.

“I’m grateful to have been part of an era before we turned pro, where we had to work as well as play football.

“It’s been an honour to have been there from the very beginning, to have committed my whole career to English football and to the WSL for the past 11 or 12 years. To have witnessed the growth and be a part of that has been truly special.

“Hopefully I’ve had a positive effect on many of those I’ve met in the dressing rooms, training pitches and stadiums along this wonderful journey.”

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