Wales international and former Reading FC Women striker Helen Ward has announced her retirement from club and international football.
36-year-old Ward joined Reading in 2013 from Chelsea when the Royals were managed by her former international teammate Jayne Ludlow making 27 appearances and scoring 11 goals in the FA WSL 2.
A prolific striker for the Welsh National Team, Ward played 105 times for her country scoring a record 44 goals in the process.
Speaking to the BBC Sport website about her decision, which she says was hastened by Wales failure to reach the 2023 World Cup, she said: “Playing for Wales became my why. It’s the reason I kept going and wanting to improve, the reason I came back after having my children, why I didn’t let Covid be the end and why I realise that it’s not where you are born that counts, but where you feel like you belong, and I’ve never felt more at home than when I’m with my team, in Wales.”
In her final season with Reading in the FA WSL, Ward played 12 times scoring twice. She wrote on her departure in 2016: “My biggest thanks must go to the fans who, no matter what, have cheered on the team in all weathers and throughout every 90 minute. Hearing the Helen Ward and baby (toddler) Ward songs always brought a massive smile to my face, the first and only fans to have sung my name which I will always appreciate.”