Team GB football star Anita Asante announces her retirement

The Aston Villa player said she would be hanging up her studs at the end of this season after a glittering 19-year-long career punctuated with highlights including kicking off the London 2012 Olympics football tournament. 

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

Former Team GB football star Anita Asante has announced that she would be retiring from the professional game at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old, who currently plies her trade for Aston Villa in the FA’s Women’s Super League, shared the news on her social media calling her career “a dream.”

Certainly, very few have done it quite like Asante.

The defender began her showcase career at Arsenal football club as a teenager where she went on to become a member of the 2007 historic quadruple winning team who clinched the Champions League, Premier League, Premier League Cup and FA Cup all in one season.

To this day it remains the sole time an English women’s team has ever captured the European title.

In 2009, Asante then joined Chelsea before crossing the pond to the US, where joined Sky Blue FC for the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer championships season. The Sky Blue subsequently went on to win the title with Asante and the team personally congratulated by President Barack Obama.

Following a three-year stint in the States, Asante then spent five years in Sweden, where she won trophies with both Goteborg and Rosengard before then returning to Chelsea to win the WSL and then to Villa in 2020.

On the international scene, Asante made her England debut in 2004 aged 19 and took part in three European championships and two World Cups and represented Team GB at London 2012, a home Games for the north Londoner.

In an interview for the Olympic Channel podcast Asante explained how she found herself swept up by the Olympic spirit:

“Nothing can prepare for that occasion; how big it is and the wow factor feeling.

“To have gotten to a position where I was representing our country and playing there was just incredible. In front of our home support, my friends and family and to kick off the tournament was something I could have never really envisioned.

“It was an incredible experience,” Asante added.

Anita Asante with Arsenal after winning the FA Cup Final
Picture by 2008 Getty Images

Anita Asante: Ally, activist, advocate

Like all greats of the game, Asante’s mark can be found not just on the pitch, but off it too.

The footballer has been long since lent her voice to important causes including organisations like Show Racism the Red Card, Amnesty International and Goals for Girls.

Asante has also been a vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community speaking openly after her own experiences coming out and advocating for a more inclusive sport.

“It’s important that I talk about it because there are a lot of girls and guys - with backgrounds - that may struggle with this issue too,” Asante told the Olympic Channel podcast.

Having had such a presence in football both as a player and as an ally, it’s little wonder the Aston Villa player is planning on staying closely connected to the sport.

Recognising the power of representation Asante hopes to give back by using her experiences to support the next generation of players:

“I want to get into coaching and management,” the former England player told BBC Sport. “My long-term ambition is to one day manage my childhood club – it would be amazing to go back to where it all began. I want to live again in that world that gave me so much.”

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