Lianne Sanderson

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Lianne Sanderson
Lianne Sanderson England Ladies v Montenegro 5 4 2014 315.jpg
Sanderson playing for England in 2014
Personal information
Full name Lianne Joan Sanderson[1]
Date of birth (1988-02-03) 3 February 1988 (age 31)[1]
Place of birth Lewisham, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.72 m)[1]
Playing position Forward[1]
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2008 Arsenal
2008–2010 Chelsea 26 (20)
2010–2011 Philadelphia Independence 40 (8)
2011–2012 Espanyol 23 (8)
2012 D.C. United 7 (6)
2013–2014 Boston Breakers 41 (10)
2013Apollon Limassol (loan)
2015 Arsenal 6 (0)
2015 Portland Thorns 5 (0)
2015Apollon Limassol (loan)
2016 Orlando Pride 8 (2)
2016 Western New York Flash 9 (3)
2018–2019 Juventus 2 (1)
National team
2006–2015 England 50 (15)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:30, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:23, 12 June 2017 (UTC+1)

Lianne Joan Sanderson (born 3 February 1988) is an English professional footballer who plays as a forward. She won 50 caps for the England national team.

At international level, Sanderson made her debut for England in May 2006. She was part of the England squad at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA Women's Euro 2009. In August 2010, Sanderson complained of unfair treatment and declared she would not play for England again under then coach Hope Powell. After Mark Sampson took over as manager in December 2013, she was recalled to the squad and participated at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. She then made further complaints of unfair treatment and was not selected after 2015.

Early life[edit]

At the age of six, Sanderson started playing for a boys' team in South London. Her father played for Crystal Palace. Sanderson says she begged her father to let her play on a team starting at the age of five years old.[2][3] At nine years old, Sanderson signed for Arsenal.[4]

Club career[edit]


Sanderson tackled by Heather Scheuber of Birmingham City, October 2006

Sanderson joined Arsenal in 1997 as part of their youth programme. Her first full season with the first team came in the 2003–2004 season, and she continued to play in the first team from then on. In the 2006 FA Women's Cup final, Sanderson scored the fifth goal of a 5–0 win over Leeds United,[5] and was voted Player of the Match.[6]

Sanderson finished the 2006–07 season as Arsenal's top–scorer, with 40 goals scored in 41 appearances across four competitions, all of which were won by Arsenal. In the 2007–08 season, she amassed 51 goals in 36 appearances, including the third in Arsenal's 4–1 FA Women's Cup final triumph over Leeds United.[7]


On 3 July 2008, Sanderson and Arsenal teammate Anita Asante joined Chelsea Ladies.[8] Upon signing, Sanderson said: "I always said I would never play for anyone else other than Chelsea. I have been at Arsenal for 11 years and it is a big change for me to have to leave the team, but both Anita and I wanted a new challenge. Sometimes you have to try new things and challenge yourself personally and I know that is what I am looking forward to doing here. So now I am just looking forward to what's ahead. Hopefully Anita and I will come in and help Chelsea win things."[9] Arsenal manager Vic Akers publicly criticised the players for the manner of their departure: "You think you've the respect of players, and then they do that. It's a sorry state of affairs."[10]

Philadelphia Independence[edit]

Sanderson with Chicago Red Stars' Jackie Santacaterina in 2013.

Sanderson was drafted in the WPS international draft, and joined Philadelphia Independence. She indicated that a delay in the creation of the FA WSL was behind her move to the United States.[11] In two seasons in the WPS she scored eight goals.[12]


Following the end of the 2011 WPS season, Sanderson signed for Espanyol, in the Spanish league.[13]

D.C. United[edit]

In May 2012, she joined W-League side D.C. United Women along with Philadelphia Independence and Espanyol teammate, Joanna Lohman.[14][15]

Boston Breakers[edit]

In 2013, Lianne Sanderson signed with Boston Breakers to play in the new National Women's Soccer League. Sanderson and Lohman went on loan to Cypriot club Apollon Limassol after the American season had finished, to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League.[16]


In November 2014, Sanderson re-signed with her original club, Arsenal Ladies.[17] Her second spell with the club ended on 10 July 2015 after eight months.[18]

Portland Thorns FC[edit]

In August 2015, it was announced that Sanderson would join Portland Thorns FC.[19] She made her debut as a second-half substitute for compatriot Jodie Taylor in a 2–1 victory against the Chicago Red Stars on 9 August 2015.[20] After starting two of five appearances for Portland that season, Sanderson headed out on another off-season loan to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.[21]

Orlando Pride[edit]

The expansion Orlando Pride selected Sanderson with the 7th pick of the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft, joining Alex Morgan and Kaylyn Kyle as fellow Orlando acquisitions from Portland.[22] Sanderson was the first player to score a goal at home for the franchise, on a free kick in the 56th minute of the Pride's home opener on 23 April 2016.[23] By the time she was traded away from the Pride before week 10 of the season in June 2016, Sanderson had two goals and an assist, tying Morgan on both counts despite playing half as many minutes and attempting 22 fewer shots.[24][25]

Western New York Flash[edit]

In June 2016, Sanderson was traded from the Orlando Pride to the Western New York Flash in exchange for an international spot through 2018.[26] The Flash won the NWSL Championship in 2016. However, Sanderson's season ended when she tore the ACL and meniscus in her right knee on 17 September, while playing for the Flash in a friendly against Thailand.[27]

Since the team was relocated to North Carolina, she has not participated in any team practices or training camps, possible taking the time to continue to rehab her injury. She was not listed on any of the pre-season roster cuts for the North Carolina Courage 2017 season and social media accounts reflect that she is residing in Limassol, Cyprus and may be involved in coaching and training activities with her previous club, Apollon Limassol.


In July 2018, Sanderson joined Juventus.[28] After one season, in which she made two league appearances as Juventus won the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia, she left the club.[29]

International career[edit]

Sanderson has played for England at the Under-15, 17, 19 and 21 levels. On 3 May 2006, she was called up for the England first team.[6] She hit the crossbar with a shot from 25 yards, shortly after coming off the bench for her debut against Hungary.[30] She was drafted into the squad for the World Cup qualifying play-off against France in September 2006 as a replacement for the injured Jo Potter.[31]

She scored her first senior goal in England's 4–0 Euro 2009 qualifier win against Northern Ireland on 13 May 2007.[32][33][34] It was her fifth cap.[33]

On 16 August 2010, Sanderson announced that she no longer wanted to be considered for England duty while manager Hope Powell was in charge, due to perceived unfair treatment by both the England hierarchy and Powell.[35]

Sanderson was not included in the England squad for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup or the Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics, which was also selected by Powell. Sanderson continued to publicly criticise Powell's administration: "I felt the [England set-up] wanted people like robots who would literally do everything they asked you to do."[36]

After England's unexpectedly poor performance at UEFA Women's Euro 2013, Powell was sacked by The Football Association (FA). A report in The Guardian newspaper suggested that "the wheels first began to come off" when Sanderson left the team. When Katie Chapman withdrew from selection in 2011 after a dispute with disciplinarian Powell, England had lost of two of their most talented players, both to off-field issues.[37]

Sanderson rejoined the England squad under Mark Sampson, scoring the winning goal as England won the 2015 Cyprus Cup[38] and winning the penalty that achieved England third place at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.[39] Shortly afterwards, she began complaining again about being expected to "conform" by the FA and about not getting enough acclaim for her 50th cap.[40]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list England's goal tally first
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 13 May 2007 Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham  Northern Ireland 4–0 4–0 2009 UEFA Championship qualification
2 8 May 2008 Darida, Minsk  Belarus 4–0 6–1 2009 UEFA Championship qualification
3 9 February 2009 Alpha Sports Centre, Larnaca  Finland 2–0 2–2 Friendly
4 5 March 2009 GSZ Stadium, Larnaca  South Africa 2–0 6–0 2009 Cyprus Cup
5 12 March 2009 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Canada 1–1 3–1 2009 Cyprus Cup
6 26 November 2009 Buca Arena, İzmir  Turkey 2–0 3–0 2011 FIFA World Cup qualification
7 1 March 2010 GSP Stadium, Nicosia   Switzerland 2–1 2–2 2010 Cyprus Cup
8 22 March 2010 Loftus Road, London  Austria 1–0 3–0 2011 FIFA World Cup qualification
9 10 March 2014 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Canada 1–0 2–0 2014 Cyprus Cup
10 10 March 2014 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Canada 2–0 2–0 2014 Cyprus Cup
11 5 April 2014 Falmer Stadium, Brighton and Hove  Montenegro 6–0 9–0 2015 FIFA World Cup qualification
12 2 August 2014 Victoria Park, Hartlepool  Sweden 3–0 4–0 Friendly
13 21 August 2014 Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff  Wales 4–0 4–0 2015 FIFA World Cup qualification
14 4 March 2015 GSZ Stadium, Larnaca  Finland 1–0 3–1 2015 Cyprus Cup
15 11 March 2015 GSZ Stadium, Larnaca  Canada 1–0 1–0 2015 Cyprus Cup


Sanderson in 2009




Personal life[edit]

Sanderson is openly gay. In 2014, she was engaged to then-teammate Joanna Lohman,[44] but the two footballers later broke up.[45] Sanderson embarked on a relationship with another teammate, Ashley Nick, when they were housed in shared accommodation provided by Apollon Limassol. "We just fell in love organically, with no drama involved," Sanderson claimed.[46]


  1. ^ a b c d "FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015: List of players: England" (PDF). FIFA. 6 July 2015. p. 10. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  2. ^ "We had to buy our boots and play in men's strips". The Sun. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Lianne Sanderson". Kick It Out. Archived from the original on 4 August 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  4. ^ Green, Ingrid. "Interview with Lianne Sanderson". Play3RSport. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Arsenal Ladies 5–0 Leeds Ladies". BBC Sport. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  6. ^ a b "Powell makes changes for Hungary". BBC Sport. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  7. ^ Aikman, Richard (16 May 2012). "Arsenal 4–1 Leeds United". Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  8. ^ "Chelsea Ladies sign Arsenal pair". BBC Sport. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Double addition for the Ladies". Chelsea FC. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Chelsea Ladies sign Arsenal pair". BBC Sport. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  11. ^ Leighton, Tony (24 January 2010). "Lianne Sanderson cites Super League delay as reason for US move". Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Women's soccer stars Lianne Sanderson and Joanna Lohman sign on with D.C. United Women". Potomac Soccer Wire. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  13. ^ Refuerzos de lujo para el Espanyol (in Spanish) Marca, 26 August 2011
  14. ^ "Former U.S. and England Internationals Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson sign with D.C. United Women". D.C. United Women. Washington Spirit. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  15. ^ "D.C. United Women to debut fourteen new players against Boston Breakers Saturday". Potomac Soccer Wire. DC Metro Sports. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  16. ^ Leonidou, John (11 September 2013). "Ambitious Apollon sign Sanderson, Lohman". UEFA. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 October 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Lianne Sanderson: England striker leaves Arsenal Ladies". BBC Sport. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Thorns FC acquire rights to midfielder Lianne Sanderson, 2016 first-round pick from Seattle Reign FC". Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  20. ^ "NWSL Match Recap Portland Thorns FC 2, Chicago Red Stars 1 Aug 9, 2015". Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Thorns FC loan five players to clubs in Australia, Cyprus and Japan". Portland Thorns FC. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Portland Lose Lianne Sanderson, Gain Meghan Klingenberg in NWSL Expansion Draft". Stumptown Footy. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Lianne Sanderson Scores Historic Goal In Pride Home Opener". Orlando City SC. 24 April 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  24. ^ "2016 NWSL Statistics". US Soccer. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Week 10 Box Scores". US Soccer. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  26. ^ "Orlando Pride Trade Midfielder Lianne Sanderson to Western New York Flash". The Mane Land. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Flash's Lianne Sanderson to miss the rest of the 2016 season". Excelle Sports. 24 September 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  28. ^ "Lianne Sanderson: Juventus Women sign England international forward". BBC Sport. 14 July 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  29. ^ "All the best, Lianne and Ashley!". Juventus FC. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  30. ^ "England Women 2–0 Hungary Women". BBC Sport. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2006.
  31. ^ "Couldn't be more thrilled". Football Association. 19 September 2006. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  32. ^ England Women 4–0 N Ireland Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine BBC Sport, 13 May 2007
  33. ^ a b "Lianne Sanderson: "It's the best feeling in the world"". Gillingham FC. Chelsea F.C. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  34. ^ England name NI squad Archived 5 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine Women's Soccer Scene, 29 February 2008
  35. ^ "Striker Lianne Sanderson to end England Women's career". BBC Sport. 15 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  36. ^ Creighton, Jessica; Magowan, Alistair (24 June 2011). "All eyes on England women's manager Hope Powell". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  37. ^ Kessel, Anna (22 August 2013). "Hope Powell's ruthless brilliance will not be missed by England's players". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ "'Everyone must conform with England'". BBC Sport. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  41. ^ "L. Sanderson". Soccerway. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  42. ^ "UEFA Women's EURO 2009 - Final". UEFA. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  43. ^ "Match for third place - Match report" (PDF). FIFA. 4 July 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  44. ^ Shira Springer, Breakers have only gay couple in pro sports Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Boston Globe, 1 June 2014
  45. ^ Glenn Moore, Lianne Sanderson seizes England spotlight on her own terms Archived 7 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Independent, 12 February 2015
  46. ^ Whyatt, Katie (16 December 2018). "Lianne Sanderson: Injury floored me but my girlfriend helped me recover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2019.

External links[edit]