Claire Rafferty to retire at the end of the season
Claire Rafferty has announced her decision to retire from football at the end of the season.
An experienced defender, two-time FA WSL winner and England international, Rafferty will call time on her storybook career following West Ham United’s match with Brighton and Hove Albion at Rush Green stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“Having thought long and hard about my decision, I have taken the choice to retire at the end of the season,” Rafferty said.
“It has not been an easy decision to make; I love playing football and it will be strange to not do this every day after this weekend, but I feel this is the right time for me to move into the next stage of my life.”
I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank every player, coach, member of staff and supporter I’ve had the honour of working with during my career.
Rafferty joined West Ham at the start of the 2018/19 season and has appeared 22 times in all competitions for the Irons this campaign.
The defender started for the Hammers in last weekend’s SSE Women’s FA Cup Final, with her leadership on and off the pitch a vital asset for West Ham in the club’s first season as a professional women’s side.
Prior to moving to West Ham, Rafferty spent 11 years with Chelsea, helping the Blues to establish themselves as one of England’s top women’s football teams, winning two doubles – the FA WSL and FA Cup in 2015 and 2018.
“Helping West Ham get to their first ever FA Cup Final was an honour, and what a way to sign off my career,” Rafferty continued. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win two doubles in an eleven-year spell with Chelsea, make over 100 league appearances in the WSL and also represent my country.
“I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank every player, coach, member of staff and supporter I’ve had the honour of working with during my career.”
Head coach Matt Beard, who worked with ‘Raff’ at Chelsea prior to bringing the left-back to West Ham, said: “Claire is a player who I have gotten to know well over the years and she has proven herself to not only be a great professional, but a model ambassador for the women’s game.
“She has been a privilege to work with, both at West Ham and at Chelsea, and I wish her every success away from football.”
Everyone at West Ham United would like to thank Claire for her efforts in the Claret and Blue this season and congratulate her on a fantastic career.
Rafferty will be joined by midfielder Lucienne Reichardt in retiring at the end of the season, with Saturday’s match against Brighton the swansong for both players.
Rafferty and Reichardt’s achievements in football will be celebrated at this weekend’s season finale at Rush Green Stadium.