Fara Williams said being awarded an MBE was an “unbelievable feeling”.
The 31-year-old was one of two England Women’s internationals – captain Steph Houghton being the other – to be recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Williams has racked up an incredible 148 international appearances, scoring 40 goals, and is the most-capped England player of all time across the men’s and women’s game.
She bagged three goals in Canada to help Mark Sampson’s Lionesses win bronze at last summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“To be awarded an MBE is an unbelievable feeling,” Williams said.
“It’s a very proud moment for not only myself but for the people closest to me as well.
“To be recognised in football, for the services I’ve delivered throughout my career is an unbelievable thing.
“But there are a lot more people out there in the community delivering a lot more than what I have been able to do.
“[Being awarded an MBE] never comes into your head as a footballer. You just think about the contributions you can [make] on the pitch, and the communities and young girls you can get involved with.
“It wasn’t on my list of goals to achieve, but when I phoned my mum to tell her I could hear her tears down the phone.”
Williams made her England debut in 2001 and she has played at three World Cups, three European Championships and the 2012 Olympics. She is the only England Women’s player to score at three separate World Cups.
She helped Liverpool win back-to-back FA WSL titles in 2013 and 2014 and won The FA Women’s Cup and The FA Women’s Premier League Cup with Everton.
Williams, a former FA Skills coach, follows fellow England greats Casey Stoney, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey and current captain Steph Houghton in being awarded an MBE.
She said: “To be put in there with the likes of Casey, Kelly and Rachel Yankey is unbelievable. I’d never have put myself in that category of names.
“It’s unbelievable that women footballers are getting recognised for their contributions on and off the pitch, but like I said, the work that goes [on] in the community from lots of other people is far greater than the work we do on the pitch.”
Williams continued: “This year was probably our best. It has been a fantastic 2015 and to receive the [MBE] letter through the door caps off a great year for me individually and for the team.
“I’m 31 and see myself playing as long as I can. So long as I’m doing the right things on the pitch and in training, I’m hoping to be selected and be a part of this team for a long time.”