Fara Williams: Who is Soccer Aid player and former England football international?

Fara Williams celebrates scoring for England at the 2015 World Cup

Fara Williams is a legend of the women’s game, having played for England and Great Britain between 2001 and 2019. She will be featuring in Soccer Aid for the very first time in 2021, after officially retiring from club football earlier this year.

A supreme midfielder, Williams will be partnered by the likes of Paul Scholes and Jamie Redknapp during Sunday’s match at the Etihad, in which crowds will return for the first time since 2019. She will be the most capped international on the pitch too, having made an incredible 172 appearances for her country – placed her third on the all-time list.

Williams’s youth career started at Chelsea and Charlton Athletic, before the 37-year-old made her defining switch in 2004. She arrived on Merseyside to join Everton, a club she would remain at for the following eight years.

During this time, Williams made 122 appearances for the Toffees, winning the Premier League Cup in 2008, and the FA Women’s Cup in 2010. Unsurprisingly, the Londoner was also made club captain during this period.

In 2012, Williams controversially signed for Everton’s fierce rivals, Liverpool, where she would help the newly formed Reds to win back-to-back WSL titles. A year at Arsenal would follow, before finally settling at Reading.

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During this time, the goalscoring midfielder would also become an ever more important member of the England squad. After making her Lioness debut in 2001 against Portugal (aged just 17) Williams would become a regular in little to no time at all.

Scoring her first England goal a year later in the return fixture against Portugal, she had truly arrived on the international stage. By 2008, Williams had already won the FA International Player of the Year award – an accolade she collected several more times throughout her England career.

A scorer of big goals on the biggest of occasions, Williams would go on to net in European Championships and World Cups for England. After starring at the 2015 World Cup, she would score an equalising penalty in the Semi-final against Japan.

The Lionesses would ultimately go on to lose the game, but it remains their best ever World Cup performance – with Williams playing a defining role.

Missing out on Phil Neville’s 2019 World Cup squad effectively spelt the end of Faye’s remarkable International career, although she would go on to play for two more seasons with Reading at club level.

You can also add playing for Great Britain at the 2021 Summer Olympics, as well as receiving an MBE from the Queen to her list of many accomplishments. Soccer Aid will be a fitting end to a truly remarkable 20-year career in football.

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