What happened to the Arsenal players who started first FA Women’s Super League game vs Chelsea


It is now a decade since the first-ever FA Women’s Super League match involving Arsenal.

Amid much fanfare, Arsenal travelled to Chelsea’s Imperial Fields ground – and picked up a 1-0 victory courtesy of a goal from Gilly Flaherty.

To mark ten years since the launch of the brand-new competition, we take a look at how those Gunners players who played in Laura Harvey’s side in that fixture and how they have fared since.

Emma Byrne

Goalkeeper Byrne stayed at Arsenal until 2016, when she joined then-second division side Brighton. She temporarily put her gloves away, but then came out of retirement to join Teressa FC in the Spanish First Division in 2019.

Byrne, as captain of her country, was instrumental in leading a player revolt in April 2017 that resulted in substantially improved working conditions for Ireland’s women’s national team.


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Jen Beattie

Beattie, who was used as a forward, centre-half and left-back in her first spell at Arsenal, left in 2013 and made the move to Montpellier HSC in France.

After time there, she moved to Manchester City where she became the first player to reach 100 appearances for the Blues, winning the WSL, twice picking up the FA Cup and once securing victory in the Continental Cup.

While the WSL transitioned to a new format, she spent time on loan at sister club Melbourne City the W-League during the winter break where she was a part of a team that picked up the league title while keeping a 100% record.

She rejoined the Gunners in June 2019 and has carried on playing this season while receiving treatment after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.

Faye White

Captain White retired from football in 2013 after a 17-year career in which she amassed 31 major trophies at club level.

Since retiring, White has regularly worked in the media and is often found commentating on the Women’s Super League for AtaFootball, who broadcast the league internationally.

Katie Chapman

Chapman left Arsenal in 2013 and joined Chelsea alongside Gilly Flaherty. There she reunited with former coach Emma Hayes and won the WSL in 2015 as well as the FA Cup in 2014/15 and 2017/18. Shortly after the latter win, she retired from football.

After having been dropped by Hope Powell during her time in charge of England, Mark Sampson recalled her to the squad in 2015 and she picked up a bronze medal at the Canada World Cup. She made her final Lionesses appearance in April of the year after.

Niamh Fahey

Fahey made the move to Chelsea in 2014, where she stayed for two years and won both the WSL and FA Cup.

She then spent a season at Bordeaux in France before returning to the WSL and joining Liverpool.

When Liverpool were relegated to the FA Women’s Championship last year, Fahey was named as captain of the club.

Gilly Flaherty

Flaherty joined Chelsea at the same time as Katie Chapman in 2013. She spent five years with the Blues where she won the WSL twice, the FA Cup twice and was also victorious in the 2018 Spring Series as the league transitioned to a new format.

She moved across the city to West Ham United when they joined the WSL and she has captained the Irons since.

Ciara Grant

The Irishwoman was converted from a midfielder to a central defender during her time at the Gunners and remained an instrumental part of the squad until her departure in 2014.

She joined Reading for that season, and then retired in April of the subsequent year.

Steph Houghton

Houghton left in 2014 to join Manchester City and she has remained there ever since, going on to be named as the club’s captain and become the only WSL player with 100 or more wins to their name.

Houghton has also captained England since 2014 and has picked up 121 caps for her country.

Kim Little

Another who left in 2014, Little joined the Seattle Reign in the NWSL in the United States. She also spent a year on loan at Melbourne City in the W-League for the 2015-16 season.

In 2017, the Scottish midfielder rejoined Arsenal and she has stayed at the club since, becoming an important part of Joe Montemurro’s side.

Little has also become a mainstay for her country, recording over 130 caps.

Ellen White

White left in 2014 to join the rebranded Notts County. She left the club to join Birmingham City in 2017 when her contract expired and Notts would go on to disband days before the beginning of the season.

One of the all-time best goalscorers in the WSL, White joined Manchester City on a two year deal ahead of the 2019/20 season.

She is also an England regular and was the top goalscorer at the 2019 World Cup, although she didn’t receive the golden boot due to Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe having recorded more assists.

Rachel Yankey

Yankey stayed at Arsenal and spent time on loan at Notts County in 2016 before retiring from football in the same year.

She had a short stint as head coach of Championship side London Bees in 2019, but she left her role at the end of the season.

The 41-year-old, who was the first female player in England to sign a professional deal during her playing career, regularly appears as a pundit for the likes of BT Sport and Sky Sports.

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SUBSTITUTES

Lauren Bruton

A youngster when at Arsenal, she left the club to join Reading in 2013, who at the time were managed by former Gunners teammate Jayne Ludlow.

Now 28, she has remained at Reading since then and has made 15 appearances this year.

Jordan Nobbs

Central midfielder Nobbs is the only player to have stayed at Arsenal since the start of the Women’s Super League.

She has had a number of injury-hit campaigns during her time, and returned from a long-term ACL injury that had kept her out of the 2019 World Cup in the 2019/20 season after being sidelined for 295 days.

In April of 2020, Nobbs, who has made over 200 appearances for the club, put pen to paper on a new contract with the Gunners.

Danielle Carter

Carter, who made her senior debut for Arsenal, remained at the club until 2020. After picking up two ACL injuries in the space of 14 months across 2018 and 2019, she has found herself sidelined for a large portion of recent years.

Carter made the move to Reading in the summer and has been a prominent member of Kelly Chambers’ side this season, picking up 18 appearances in the league.

UNUSED SUBS

Yvonne Tracy

Defender Tracy retired in 2013 after suffering serious knee injuries, and still works in the Arsenal kit room set-up.

Becky Spencer

The goalkeeper has played all over London now, for Chelsea and West Ham including current club Tottenham, who she joined in 2019.





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