England Women will celebrate their 50th anniversary at an international friendly against USA on Friday 7 October.
Over 100 former England Women international players have been invited to Wembley Stadium, London, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations to mark the first-ever England Women fixture, which took place against Scotland on 18 November 1972.
Members of the inaugural squad from their first international against Scotland 50 years ago will line up alongside the current squad, plus representatives of one of the Lionesses’ development squads ahead of kick-off of the friendly clash against reigning world champions – USA.
The FA have also confirmed that attendees from the inaugural squad will also be awarded an England cap as part of a special presentation on the evening.
All former players from across the last five decades who are in attendance will also be invited pitch-side during the half-time break to receive applause from the sell-out home crowd
Speaking about this opportunity to celebrate the women’s game ahead of a milestone anniversary, current manager – Sarina Wiegman paid tribute to all those who have played their part in the rise of England Women in football.
Wiegman also acknowledged the importance of their trend-setting barrier breaking as she said: “We’re all grateful to the former generation of players who have paved the way for today’s growth and success.
“All of them represented their country with so much talent but also fought so hard on and off the pitch to break barriers and make the women’s game what it now is.
“The players today also know the challenges they faced and appreciate everything that has been done to give them the opportunities they now have. It is great we can say thank you to the Lionesses legends.”
Adopting Legacy Numbers
Current England Lionesses will also adopt the tradition of legacy numbers, in order to celebrate various individuals who had represented the nation at a senior level with their own unique number.
The FA commissioned a programme aimed at identifying former players in order to create better recognition of the sport’s history, with help of JJ Heritage, ex members of WFA, FIFA, UEFA plus National Football Museum, British Librarary and others involved in women’s football.
Details of the legacy numbers will be announced on Friday 18 November 2022 – 50 years to exact date of first England Women fixture – which will enable former and current players to acknowledge their role in England’s history.
Current players will then wear legacy numbers in the matchday shirt from 2023 onwards, whilst every former players will receive special velvet caps with their legacy number embroidered on the front.
Head of Women’s Technical at the FA, Kay Cossington described this opportunity as “a fantastic chance to celebrate and thank all the Lionesses who have worn the shirt with pride since 1972.”
Cossington proceeded to state that the current team are “indebted” to every player who have worn the England shirt before them, acknowledging that their Euro success this summer and sell-out crowds wouldn’t of been achieved without their role in pushing the game to new heights.
Fans who can’t attend the match in-person will be able to watch live coverage of England vs USA live on ITV on 7 October, with the broadcaster going on air from 7:30pm BST ahead of a 8pm BST kick-off.