Whatever happened to… the London 2012 Team GB women’s football squad?
After a nine-year wait, fans are finally getting to see a Team GB side at the Olympics again, but Alasdair Hooper looks at where coach Hope Powell’s trailblazing quarter-finalists are now.
The long-time England goalkeeper was playing for Swedish side Linkopings by the time London 2012 came around. She then went on to play for Lincoln in the WSL before her incredibly successful spell at Manchester City.
She has amassed 82 England caps and was initially selected as part of the Tokyo 2020 squad before having to withdraw through injury. She’d spent part of last season on loan at OL Reign.
Alex Scott needs no introduction, with a huge 140 England caps to her name as well as a brilliant career in the club game, primarily with Arsenal.
Since retiring from football in 2018 she has continued to pave the way in media and broadcasting. From punditry, to presenting the BBC’s coverage at Tokyo 2020, and all the way to being announced as the first female commentator in FIFA 2022, there is nothing she can’t do.
At the time of London 2012 Houghton was 24 and playing for Arsenal but she has developed into one of the finest centre backs and leaders in the game.
The current Manchester City and England captain is one of three co-captains in the Tokyo 2020 team and is sure to have a vital role to perform in Japan.
Scott is another player who has enjoyed a remarkable career for club and country. During London 2012, the tall midfielder was an Everton stalwart before she eventually joined the Manchester City revolution in 2013 and enjoyed all the success that came with it.
She has 151 England caps to her name and, after spending the second half of last season back on loan with the Toffees, managed to earn a call-up to the Tokyo 2020 squad at the age of 34.
In 2012, Bradley was a 22-year-old defender with plenty of promise playing at the heart of defence, notably in that 1-0 win over Brazil in the group stage. At the time she was with Lincoln and stayed with them as they went on to become Notts County before a serious injury in 2014 caused her to miss the entire 2015 WSL season.
Now Sophie Bradley-Auckland, she joined Sheffield United in May 2021 following a spell with Liverpool, returning to football after taking a year out because of the pandemic.
As captain, Stoney’s influence on the pitch was as important then as it is in management now. Back then she was playing for Lincoln, which was followed by a return to Arsenal and a spell at Liverpool before she retired in 2018.
She went on to take a role on Phil Neville’s backroom staff with the Lionesses before being appointed head coach of the newly-formed Manchester United. After stepping down in May this year she was announced as the new head coach of the San Diego NWSL team earlier this month and is also doing punditry with the BBC during Tokyo 2020.
Another legend of the English game, Carney was a 24-year-old star with Birmingham City when she was part of the London 2012 set-up. She later moved to Chelsea in 2015, where she enjoyed huge success before retiring in 2019.
She’s now quickly established herself as one of the brightest and best pundits in the game, regularly appearing on BT Sport and Amazon Prime. She was also inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame earlier this year.
You run out of adjectives to describe Fara Williams’ monumental impact on the game. With 172 caps she is England’s most-capped player and this summer retired from the club game at the age of 37 following a glittering career spanning 20 years.
Having turned out for clubs including Reading, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool she is undoubtedly a pioneer of the game, and she surely has more to give post-retirement.
The feared striker’s still doing what she does best — scoring — after netting a deadly double in Team GB’s opening 2-0 win over Chile at Tokyo 2020 this week.
In 2012, White was 23 and plying her trade with Arsenal but she remains one of the best strikers around in the game today. Now playing club football for Manchester City, you can expect her to have a big role to play if Team GB are to do something special out in Japan.
Speaking of pioneers, is there anything extra you can say about Kelly Smith and her contribution to the game? At London 2012, Smith’s status as one of the most talented players England had ever seen was already cemented and that has remained the case even after she retired from football in 2017.
She is England’s record goalscorer with 46 goals and still stays involved in the game with her TV punditry and ambassadorial work.
Yankey is another who’s influence in the women’s game can’t be understated, particularly in her long-term spell with Arsenal and in her 129 England appearances. She retired in 2016 and since then has tried her hand at TV work, punditry, and coaching.
In 2019, she spent time as London Bees head coach, and she’s also known for hosting the TV show Footy Pups.
The Scot was one of two non-English players selected as part of Team GB for London 2012, and she is widely recognised as one of the game’s best midfielders.
The current Arsenal captain’s authority on the ball and pitch has only grown with every passing year. Although she is still only 31, she has amassed a whopping 140 Scotland caps. Little is one of the co-captains of the current GB team alongside Steph Houghton and Sophie Ingle and her class was evident in the win over Chile as she dictated the play in midfield.
The other non-English player among the squad, Scotland star Dieke was playing her club football with Vittsjo in Sweden when she was selected for London 2012. However, she suffered ruptured knee ligaments against Cameroon and missed two years of football afterwards.
The defender earned 123 caps and made history by becoming Scotland’s first black female captain during her brilliant career before her international retirement in 2017.
Asante is another player who has been there and done it all. When she was part of Team GB in London she was playing with Goteborg in Sweden before she moved to FC Rosengard in 2013.
She returned to England to play for Chelsea in 2018 and is currently with WSL side Aston Villa after moving at the start of last season. She has become one of the most eloquent speakers throughout the women’s game.
Another who has had a huge influence on the women’s game, Aluko had been at Birmingham City by the time the London 2012 Olympics came about. Of course, her career afterwards brought huge success, from her exploits with England to the trophies she won with Chelsea and later Juventus.
She retired in January 2020 and went on to become director of women’s football at Aston Villa. In May, this year she became the sporting director of Los Angeles-based Angel City FC ahead of their debut season in the NWSL.
With over 100 Chelsea appearances to her name, Rafferty is a hugely popular figure in the women’s game. The defender was 23 years old when she was selected as part of the Olympic team, and she should have gone on to appear more than she did for England but her three ACL injuries disrupted that.
She left Chelsea in 2018 to play for West Ham, before retiring in 2019 and working in the media as well as working for the Blues in a commercial role.
Williams is one of those familiar faces who has been around the WSL for a long time. She was playing for Birmingham at the time of London 2012 but went on to play for Chelsea and Notts County before returning to the Blues in 2017. The 33-year-old is currently with Tottenham in the WSL after joining last summer.
The back-up goalkeeper in the London 2012 squad had been the long-term England number one before eventually being ousted by Bardsley.
Now Rachel Brown-Finnis, she retired from football in 2015 and has gone on to become one of the best pundits in the game, regularly appearing on the BBC and BT Sport.
Following the injury to Dieke, Susi was called up to the Team GB squad as her replacement. She was with Chelsea at the time before she went on to play for Notts County in the WSL. She studied economics at the University of Westminster but has since retired from the game.
Follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992
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