The FA

For Casey

The inside story of Casey Stoney's life in football

Friday 17 Feb 2017

The playground, Wembley, the park – it doesn't matter to Casey Stoney. She loves kicking a ball around.

Casey grew up being the only girl playing in boys' teams. In her first game for one club, they didn't pass to her for the first half-hour. And she ended up being their player of the season.

Football was the one place I could go and feel free
- Casey Stoney

"I had quite a tough childhood at times," she says. "There were a lot of struggles at home."

"Football was the one place where I could go and feel free, and I could forget everything else that was going on."

Casey's mother found her a team to play for. A boys' team.

"I got teased a lot. Back then, you had to earn their respect. The only way I could do that was by showing them what I could do with a ball."

Now 34 years old, Casey has more than a hundred England caps and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games. She plays in the FA Women's Super League for Liverpool Ladies

Watch the story of how she made it happen:

 

'I owe The FA for the life I've got now'

The FA has been there for Casey many times. From providing help when she questioned her desire to go on living, to helping her achieve her coaching qualifications so that she can follow her dreams of nurturing the next generation.

To get this far, she's dealt with sexism and homophobia, having revealed she is gay in April 2014.  

"The way you deal with it is by just focusing on football – you just play. I didn't talk about stuff, and I'd box it all up in my head."

"I kind of didn't want to be here any more. I needed help to get through that."

That help came during an England meet-up, when Casey was provided access to a sports psychologist.

"I just let everything out. I owe The FA, the psychologist and England the life I've got now, because I don't know where I'd be without that support."

In itself, playing for England 129 times – to date – has brought great pride: "I'm beyond proud - I don't think proud cuts it. It's one of the best feelings in the world, to pull on that shirt and represent your country."

Casey's career in pictures

What next for Casey?

Casey has recently returned from representing the Lionesses at the SheBelieves Cup.

Domestically, her debut for Liverpool Ladies is approaching. The Reds kick-off their FA WSL 1 Spring Series campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Yeovil Town on Sunday 23 April.

But what does the bigger picture hold for the defender? At 34, Casey has one eye on the future and how she can help The FA's aim to double the number of women taking part in football by 2020.

"The FA have been fantastic with supporting me on my coaching journey so far," she affirms.

"I do want to give back. I want to help the next generation of players. With The FA's support for women's football, it's in the best place it's ever been.

"Girls growing up now won't have the same things to face as we did. That's all we've ever dreamed of."

The FA ;

How to get involved

So how can you follow in Casey's footsteps? Using the section below, you can search for your nearest football facility.

If, like Casey, you're interested in becoming a coach, The FA runs a range of courses to help you on your journey, while we're also looking for new referees.

Now's a great time to get involved in watching women's football, too, with the Lionesses taking on Italy and Austria in April as they gear up for Euro 2017.

With the FA WSL Spring Series now in full flow as well, click here to locate your nearest club and get behind them!

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