Jody Handley

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Jody Handley
Jody handley.jpg
Handley (right) playing for Everton in November 2006
Personal information
Date of birth (1979-03-12) 12 March 1979 (age 40)
Place of birth Stafford, England
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[1]
Playing position Winger / Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Shrewsbury Ladies
1993–1995 Wolves Women
1995–1996 Liverpool Ladies
1997 University of Detroit Mercy
1998–2000 Liverpool Ladies
2000–2001 Everton Ladies
2001–2004 Doncaster Rovers Belles
2004–2014 Everton Ladies
2015 Doncaster Rovers Belles 0 (0)
National team
2002–2010 England 38 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:18, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Jody Handley (born 12 March 1979) is an English former footballer from Stafford, who most recently played for FA WSL 2 club Doncaster Rovers Belles. A pacy and intelligent attacking player, she featured as both a wide midfielder and striker for England as well as clubs including Wolves Women, Liverpool Ladies and Everton Ladies. She has featured in four FA Women's Cup finals with three clubs, losing the first three but captaining Everton Ladies to their win in 2010.

On the international stage Handley won 38 England caps and scored six goals following her debut in July 2002. She took part in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, and was a non-playing squad member at the 2005 and 2009 editions of the UEFA Women's Championship.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Handley began her career at Shrewsbury Ladies before moving on to Wolves Women in the middle of season 1993–94. Making nine appearances, she scored five goals to help Wolves take the Northern Premier title. In her first season in the National Premier Division she made 16 appearances and scored two goals including the opener in Wolves' first National Division win against Milwall Lionesses. The rest of Wolves' campaign did not go so well and they were eventually relegated after a further season.

Merseyside and Detroit[edit]

Handley remained in the top–flight, having signed for Liverpool Ladies in December 1995. She also made an appearance in the FA Women's Cup final in April 1996, which Liverpool lost on penalties to Croydon.[2]

In 1997 Handley played varsity soccer for the University of Detroit Mercy. She registered ten assists[3] and was named league Newcomer of the Year.[4]

After her scholarship in the USA, Handley returned to Liverpool in March 1998. However, the Reds were kicked out of the 1997–98 FA Women's Cup when Handley played in a win over Millwall without international clearance.[5] In 2000, she left Liverpool for local rivals Everton[6] and was successfully converted from a midfielder to a striker.[7]

Doncaster Belles[edit]

She moved to Doncaster Belles for season 2001–02 and scored twice on her debut.[8] She went on to play in her second FA Women's Cup final, this time against Fulham. Despite getting on the score sheet Handley had to make do with another runners–up medal; as professional outfit Fulham secured a 2–1 win.[9]


Handley with the 2010 FA Women's Cup

Handley returned to Everton Ladies in the 2004–05 season and went on to score in the FA Cup semi-final win against Arsenal, however she was to be disappointed once again after a 1–0 loss to Charlton Athletic in the 2005 final.[10] In the 2007–08 season Handley was named Everton captain through the absence of Leanne Duffy. Handley then led Everton to their first silverware in over a decade with a 1–0 win against Arsenal in the Premier League Cup final,[11] where she was named Player of the Match.

Season 2008–09 seemed to be full of promise for Handley, but it got off to a bad start when she suffered a broken ankle during the Umbro pre-season tournament.[11] She recovered ahead of schedule and came on as a substitute in the 4–0 FA Cup win against Manchester City before travelling to Cyprus with England for a squad get together. Everton finished second in the league and qualified for the UEFA Women's Champions League.[citation needed]

In 2009–10 Handley captained Everton to their FA Women's Cup final win over Arsenal, setting up Natasha Dowie for the opening goal.[12]

The 2014 season saw Everton defeat local rivals Liverpool en route to the FA Women's Cup final, but Handley did not play as Arsenal won the final 2–0 at Stadium mk.[13] Worse was to follow in September 2014 as Everton were relegated out of the top division for the first time in 21 years.[14]

Back to the Belles[edit]

On 28 January 2015, Handley announced that she had transferred from Everton back to Doncaster Belles.[15] Unable to shake off injuries picked up in pre-season, Handley retired from playing in May 2015: "I felt it was my body's way of telling me enough was enough". She was studying physiotherapy through the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and hoped to stay in football in that capacity.[16]

International career[edit]

Handley first represented England as a 16-year-old[17] and played in the U-18 national team.[7] She also represented English Universities while a student.[18]

Good performances at club level led to further international recognition for Handley. She made her full debut against Nigeria in July 2002 and was named Player of the Match by Sky Sports.[19] In October 2003 she got her first goal for the senior England team in a 2–2 draw against Russia in Moscow.[17] She was on the score sheet in a 5–0 whitewash of Mexico in the 2005 Algarve Cup and was also involved in the World Cup qualifying campaign, scoring a goal in the record 13–0 win against Hungary en route to China 2007.[20] She played in the finals, coming on for the last ten minutes of England's third game against Argentina, a 6–1 win which guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals.[21]

In May 2009, Handley was one of the first 17 female players to be given central contracts by The Football Association.[22]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 21 October 2003 Kryoia Soveto, Moscow  Russia 2–2 Friendly 1
2 17 February 2005 National Hockey Stadium, Milton Keynes  Italy 4–1 Friendly 1
3 13 March 2005 Estádio Fernando Cabrita, Lagos  Mexico 5–0 Algarve Cup 1
4 27 October 2005 Tapolca  Hungary 13–0 2007 FIFA World Cup Qual. 1
5 20 April 2006 Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham  Austria 4–0 2007 FIFA World Cup Qual. 1
6 22 July 2009 County Ground, Swindon  Denmark 1–0 Friendly 1

Personal life[edit]

Handley attended Sir Graham Balfour School[20] then studied health, diet and fitness at Liverpool University.[17] She was later employed as a health development worker in Knowsley.[17]

In 2018 she graduated from the University of Salford with a degree in Physiotherapy, the first female Professional Footballers Association member to graduate through the programme linked between the university and the PFA.[23]






  1. ^ "#17 Jodie Handley". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  2. ^ Sarah Forde (29 April 1996). "Croydon spot chance for first cup victory". The Times.
  3. ^ "2009 UDM Women's Soccer Yearbook". University of Detroit Mercy. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  4. ^ "ALL-TIME LEAGUE TEAMS". Horizon League. 15 December 2005. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Red-faced Ladies are KO'd". Western Daily Press. 26 March 1998.
  6. ^ Colin Aldis. "Review of matches in England AXA FA Women's Premier League, National Division played September 10, 2000". Women's Soccer World. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  7. ^ a b Tony Leighton (8 October 2000). "Arsenal lose 100 per cent record". BBC. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  8. ^ Tony Leighton (19 August 2001). "Spacey reaches for stars". BBC. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  9. ^ Tony Leighton (7 May 2005). "Fulham too professional for battling Belles". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  10. ^ Tony Leighton (9 December 2005). "Handley's old pals wish". Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Contenders: Handley". 28 December 2008. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  12. ^ Peter Lansley (4 May 2010). "Natasha Dowie goals lift family mood as Everton win Women's Cup". The Times. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  13. ^ Lavery, Glenn (1 June 2014). "Kelly Smith stars as Arsenal retain The FA Women's Cup". The Football Association. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  14. ^ Leighton, Tony (28 September 2014). "Women's Super League: Tears flow as Everton are relegated". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Handley Back With Belles". She Kicks. 28 January 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  16. ^ "STATEMENT: Jody Handley Retires From Football". Doncaster Rovers Belles L.F.C. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  17. ^ a b c d "Jody's on target for England". Staffordshire Newsletter. 30 October 2003. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  18. ^ "Gearing up for the BUGs". 13 March 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  19. ^ "England women Fixtures and Results, 2004/05". Cresswell Wanderers FC. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  20. ^ a b James Benstead (16 August 2007). "World Cup call-up for Stafford girl". Staffordshire Newsletter. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  21. ^ "England 6–1 Argentina". FIFA. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  22. ^ "England Women awarded contracts". BBC Sport. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  23. ^ "PFA members graduate from the University of Salford". The Professional Footballer's Association. Retrieved 24 July 2018.

External links[edit]