Three former Arsenal stars first inductee’s to WSL Hall of Fame
- Credit: PA
Former Arsenal stars Fara Williams,Rachel Yankey and Kelly Smith are the first players to be named in the Women’s Super League Hall of Fame.
The former stars have been included over the course of two days with Williams and Yankey announced on Wednesday and Smith being named on Thursday morning.
Midfielder Williams who was the first to be inducted, played in every WSL season before her retirement at the end of the 2020/21 campaign and is England’s most capped player.
"I am delighted that Fara is our first inductee," said chair of the WSL Hall of Fame panel Kelly Simmons.
"She is one of those players that can do something special when you least expect it, and because of that - as well as having been an ever present in the Barclays FA Women's Super League prior to her retirement - the panel was unanimous in her being inducted.
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"Not only was she an incredible player but she is a wonderful person, and she is fully deserving of her induction into the inaugural Barclays FA Women's Super League Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Fara."
Yankey is one of the country's most decorated players, winning every competition available with Arsenal, which included two FA Women's Super League titles in 2011 and 2012.
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Suzanne Wrack, journalist and member of the Barclays FA Women's Super League Hall of Fame selection panel, said: "I am delighted that Rachel Yankey has been unveiled as one of the first ever Barclays FA Women's Super League Hall of Fame inductee.
"She was always a player I admired and one of those individuals who you could tell genuinely enjoyed every minute she had on the pitch.
"Watching her as a player was an absolute pleasure and I am thrilled she is taking that knowledge into coaching. She is fully deserving of her induction into the inaugural Barclays FA Women's Super League Hall of Fame."
Smith was announced as the third inductee of 2021 and is seen by many as the face of Women’s football in England and she helped Arsenal win a league title in 2012, while also playing a starring role in Women’s FA Cup victories in 2014 and 2016.
The striker, who is England's record goalscorer returned to the WSL in 2012 after a spell playing in the USA.
In a career lasting over 20 years, Smith scored 46 goals for her country, and won the Uefa Women's Cup in 2007 during her first spell with the Gunners before the advent of the WSL.
Ex-player, current Brighton & Hove Albion head coach and member of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League Hall of Fame selection panel, Hope Powell, said: “When thinking of my Barclays FA Women’s Super League Hall of Fame inductee selection, Kelly Smith was one of the first individuals I thought of.
“There are few words that I can use to describe what she was able to do on the pitch. She was a magician, she made things look so effortless and she just glided across the field with ease.
“Kelly’s profile and respect from different parts of the world has been a huge asset in promoting the women’s game here. I am delighted that we are able to induct her into the Barclays FA Women’s Super League Hall of Fame.”