A standing ovation to Kelly Smith
The Women's game is about to lose one of its biggest names as England's all-time record goalscorer announced her retirement on Wednesday
Kelly Smith said it herself on FATV, '117 caps, and 46 goals.' As her retirement looms to a close it's only fair that I should give a standing ovation.
A player usually knows when it's time to call it quits, or, they chose to see themselves burn out to an embarrassing end. An example: the Amanda Nunes fight vs Ronda Rousey. Amanda Nunes demolished Ronda Rousey to an early win in the UFC championship and took the title home. Many had said that Ronda Rousey was passed her best, and she should hang up her gloves before it gets even more embarrassing for her. Ronda Rousey is only 29 years of age and could still be reaching her peak, but many feel she is highly over-rated. Whether Ronda retires or not is another question, but Kelly is 38 years old and hanging up her football boots.
I feel the tide was right. Kelly was having injuries and found her appearances on the pitch becoming less and less for Arsenal. On the pitch - Kelly Smith was lively, vocal, and in control when she had her feet on the ball. She has been described as a technical player; meaning, she dribbles well with the ball and is quick/ accurate when she delivers.
Pete Davis said it best,
'lethally quick, bountifully gifted'
Her league appearances for Arsenal from 2005 – 2009 have totalled to 66 appearances, and 73 goals. She had an injury that did hamper her play and performance but she kept at it. Kelly came back to Arsenal between 2012 – 2017 and scored 8 goals; within 17 appearances.
Kelly has also played for, Wembley Ladies, Philadelphia Charge, Boston Breakers, New Jersey Wildcats and New Jersey Lady Stallions. She made 4 appearances for Great Britain. It's a plentiful career to look back on, and the forward can look back with pride.
I have seen Kelly play a few times when watching the female world cup; one match, in particular, was the match against Netherlands in 2007 – she had the ball; controls it, then takes it around the defender - placing the shot at the right side of the net. She beat 3 defenders and looked tidy doing so. It was a good goal and one that shows – off her skill and timing. She scored a hat-trick that day and seemed a threat to not be messed with. Vera Pauw (Dutch manager – stepped down in 2010) described Kelly as:
‘the best player in the world.'
Whether people agree or not is their personal opinion, but she is well respected in the female footballing world. To go as far as to label her as the female equivalent to Lionel Messi is a very big label indeed. Maybe Messi should be asked what he thinks of that? Her goal-scoring ability has even by-passed Karen Walker, who was inducted into the English football hall of fame. Kelly has scored 46 goals for England in total, and Karen's 40 is now a mere 2nd place. I'm sure Kelly Smith's name will be added to the Football hall of fame.