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English record goalscorer Kelly Smith retires


London (AFP) – England’s women’s record goalscorer Kelly Smith announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old striker — who scored 46 goals in 117 appearances for England — won five FA Cups with Arsenal, scoring six goals in the showpiece event.

She also played in Arsenal’s historic 2007 UEFA Cup — now the womens’ Champions League — success and they remain the only British side to have won the trophy.  

Smith, who became Britain’s first female professional footballer when she joined American side New Jersey in 1999,  said her body had told her the time was right to hang up her boots.

“It just feels the time is right now,” she told the BBC.

“I think I’ve had a very good career at both international and club level, I’ve travelled the world and, at the age of 38, the body is telling me it needs to stop.

“I don’t have any regrets, I’ve loved every minute of it. Every time I put that England shirt on, I felt a lot of emotion playing for my country.

“The game is in a magnificent place at the moment and it’s good to step away at the right time.”

Smith played in two World Cup final tournaments and four Euro championships — scoring in the Euro 2009 final — and for Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics before retiring from the national side in 2015.

Smith, who was FA women’s player of the year twice and featured in the top five FIFA players list four times, battled her demons successfully too, admitting she had contemplated suicide when she was fighting an addiction to alcohol.

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