|Full name||Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze|
|Date of birth||28 October 1991|
|Place of birth||Berwick-upon-Tweed, England|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.72 m)|
|2009||North Carolina Tar Heels||24||(3)|
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 00:00, 26 September 2022 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 00:00, 26 September 2022 (UTC)
Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze (born 28 October 1991), known as Lucy Bronze,[n 1] is an English professional footballer who plays as a right-back for Barcelona and the England national team. She has previously played for Sunderland, Everton, Liverpool, Lyon and Manchester City as well as North Carolina at college level in the United States and Great Britain at the Olympics. Bronze has won three UEFA Women's Champions League titles with Lyon as well as three FA Women's Super League titles with Liverpool and Manchester City. With England, she won the UEFA Women's Euro 2022.
Bronze represented England at all youth levels before featuring in the full national squad at Euro 2013. She won the Silver Ball at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, helping England to a fourth place finish, and was named to the All-Star Squad at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, in which England finished third. She has won the PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year award twice – in 2014 and 2017.
In 2018 and 2020, Bronze was named BBC Women's Footballer of the Year. In 2019, she became the first English footballer to win the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award. Bronze was named The Best FIFA Women's Player in December 2020. She has been described as the best player in the world, and is widely considered to be one of the all-time best female defenders in football and one of England's best footballers.
Early life and education
Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze was born on 28 October 1991 in Berwick-upon-Tweed in North East England to a Portuguese father, Joaquim Bronze, and an English mother, Diane Tough. She is British-Portuguese and has two siblings: an older brother, Jorge, who was born in Portugal, and younger sister, Sophie. They were raised bilingual; Bronze has said she is not very comfortable when speaking Portuguese, but can. She was very shy as a child and wouldn't speak much in general. As an infant she began playing football with her brother and his friends, first playing in Faro. She grew up around the North East, living on Lindisfarne (Holy Island), where her grandmother was caretaker of Lindisfarne Castle, in Belford, and in Alnwick.
She attended the Duchess's Community High School in Alnwick with middle-distance runner Laura Weightman and future England teammate Lucy Staniforth. Here, she played as a midfielder and was the captain in football, as well as captain of the tennis and hockey teams; her mother encouraged Bronze to pursue tennis rather than football, but began supporting her ambitions after she was told by the Football Association (FA) she could no longer play for a boys' team when she turned twelve. Though preferring team sports, she took part in many others, including reaching the national finals in cross country and pentathlon, and at one point aiming to go to the Olympic Games as an 800 metres runner. Her mother is a maths teacher and, keen in mathematics herself, Bronze received a bronze award in the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust Challenge. Bronze has said that her mother "thinks [she is] on the autistic spectrum somewhere".
When she was seventeen, in 2009, Bronze finished sixth form a year early and moved to North Carolina to study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and play for the Tar Heels women's soccer team at college level. She returned to England after a year, transferring to Leeds Metropolitan University to continue her sports science degree. At Leeds she had to take jobs working at a bar and at Domino's Pizza to support herself; during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019, the Domino's Bronze had worked at in Headingley changed its shopfront to the colour bronze, while during the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 it changed its name to "Lucy's" and offered related promotions. She graduated in 2013.
Bronze played with Alnwick Town A.F.C. to the under-11 level, but FA rules prevented her from continuing with the boys' team. In the Alnwick mixed-gender juniors squad, Bronze was the best player on the team, picking up six "man of the match" awards from eight games; the manager was so intent for her to continue playing when she turned twelve that he helped open a discrimination case against the FA in the hopes they would allow an exception. They did not, but did set a target to support more girls' football teams in rural Northern areas as an alternative solution.
Bronze then began attending summer training camps in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, something her mother had discovered when looking for opportunities for her to continue to play football, and playing for Sunderland at under-12 academy level. Though the nearest girls' team to Alnwick, it was still several hours away, and Bronze has said between school and training she had no time for anything else. The travel was draining and Bronze was shy going to Sunderland, so when she was old enough (the option of playing above her age group was also referred to the FA and denied), she played for Blyth Town, a closer side that had an under-14 girls' team. She returned to Sunderland when she reached under-15 level, and was the captain of their under-16 team.
Bronze joined the Sunderland senior team when she turned 16 in 2007. In 2007–08, Bronze was named Manager's Player of the Year as Sunderland finished third in the FA Women's Premier League Northern Division. The next season she helped them win the Northern Division and gain promotion to the National Division. Bronze also started in the 2009 FA Women's Cup Final, being awarded the Player of the Match award in Sunderland's 1–2 defeat to Arsenal. After a semester in the United States, Bronze returned to England in December 2009 and was included on the Sunderland squad for initial matches in the National Division.
In the summer of 2009, Bronze moved to the United States, studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and playing for their soccer team, the Tar Heels, the most successful Division 1 team in the country; during her time there, Bronze said that she did not feel nervous to live up to such a legacy or play in the college championships as she did not really understand it. She won a scholarship from coach Anson Dorrance after impressing him during several soccer camps. Originally recruited to play as a true freshman defender and told she would not get many minutes behind more senior players, the season-ending injury suffered by Nikki Washington saw Bronze featured prominently in the midfield for the team, winning the ACC tournament and eventually becoming the first British player to win an NCAA Cup in December 2009 after having assisted for the crucial goal in the semi-final. All-American honours as a midfielder followed for Bronze, who scored three goals and provided four assists in 24 games, with Dorrance saying that she brought a level of polish and savviness from English football to the team and the college writing that she "dominated" in the NCAA tournament for them.
Bronze missed a match in September to train with the under-20 squad in England, and returned for international training again in December 2009, having been told by England that if she continued to play in the United States then they would not consider her for the national team. During England training, she injured her knee, which then became infected, and she spent much of the next year in a leg brace. She transferred to Leeds Metropolitan University in 2010. She became a "key member" of the Leeds Met university women's football team, which won the BUCS North Premier Division in the 2010–11 year.
Mo Marley, who coached Bronze in England youth squads, offered Bronze a spot on the Everton squad Marley was coaching in the summer of 2010; with Everton, Bronze could play in the newly-established Women's Super League as Sunderland would not be joining it. In September 2010, it was revealed that Bronze had signed for the club when she was named in their UEFA Women's Champions League squad. She debuted for Everton in a 0–0 draw against MTK in Hungary, continuing to play for Sunderland for the remainder of 2010.
At the age of 19, Bronze competed in six matches for Everton during the 2011 FA WSL season. Everton finished in third place in the league, with a 7–4–3 record. During the 2012 FA WSL, she started ten of the eleven matches she played. She scored her first Everton goal during a 2–0 win against Liverpool L.F.C. Everton also finished this season in third place with a 7–4–3 record.
Bronze had spent the two years following her knee surgeries using what she learnt in her sports science degree to create her own rehabilitation plan. Pundit and former player Alex Scott, whose position Bronze took, later said that the years Bronze spent determined to overcome her injury were instrumental in her developing the physical and mental strength to reach the level she has.
Bronze was part of the Liverpool side that won the FA WSL in 2013 and again in 2014. During the 2013 FA WSL season, she was a starting defender in 13 of the 14 matches she played. She scored a goal during the team's 4–1 win over Birmingham City. Liverpool finished in first place and suffered only two defeats. During the 2014 FA WSL, Bronze started all matches for Liverpool helping the team to another league championship and a 7–5–2 record.
Manchester City, 2014–17
In her first year at Manchester City, Bronze scored two goals from the full-back position, helping City to second place in the league and qualification for the UEFA Women's Champions League for the first time. In 2016, her second season in Manchester, she scored two league goals as the Blues went unbeaten for the entire season. The defender contributed to an outstanding record which saw Manchester City only concede four league goals. She also helped Manchester City to their second FA WSL Cup win in three years, scoring the winning goal in the 105th minute of the final. Bronze was also named FA WSL 1 Players' Player of the Year. She played a part in both the home and away leg of Manchester City's first ever Champions League games, scoring two and assisting two in a 6–0 aggregate win over Russian champions Zvezda Perm. She ended competition with eight appearances, as Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the 2016–17 edition of the UEFA Women's Champions League, with their title hopes ended in late April when they lost to Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) 3–2 on aggregate. On 23 April 2017, Bronze was named PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year for second time; selected in the PFA WSL Team of the Year and Women's Champions League Squad of the Season. Later that year, she was shortlisted for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award and The Best FIFA Women's Player Award, but finished eighth and ninth respectively in the voting.
Olympique Lyonnais, 2017–20
In August 2017, Bronze signed a three-year contract with Lyon. In the 2017–18 season of the UEFA Women's Champions League, Bronze made eight appearances, scoring two goals as Lyon reached the final. Lucy featured in the final match of the UEFA Women's Champions League and helped Lyon win the competition. In the Division 1 Féminine league, Lucy made nineteen appearances, scoring two goals, as Lyon captured its twelfth straight league title. Bronze was named in the Team of the Year for D1 Feminine and Women's Champions League Squad of the Season. In the Coupe de France, Bronze and Lyon were unable to defend their Coupe de France title, losing to Paris Saint-German in the final. Bronze has been shortlisted for the inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or award, was one of 10 players nominated for UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award and The Best FIFA Women's Player Award, but finished sixth, fifth and sixth respectively.
During the 2018–19 season, Bronze made 29 appearances for the Lyon in all competitions, scored two goals and collected her second Division 1 Féminine league title winner's medal; she also won Coupe de France Féminine title and helped Lyon win a second consecutive UEFA Women's Champions League trophy.
Bronze helped Lyon win Trophée des Championnes in 2019 – a first historic new trophy against Paris Saint-Germain. The same year, for her performances in the tournaments, the defender finished as runner-up for the Women's Ballon d'Or, was named UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award and finished third in the voting for The Best FIFA Women's Player Award.
Return to Manchester City, 2020–22
On 8 September 2020, Bronze rejoined Manchester City on a two-year deal, following the conclusion of her contract with Olympique Lyonnais, which brought the curtain down on a trophy-laden three-year spell in France. In 2020, after winning a treble with Olympique Lyonnais and for her performances in the tournaments, she was named as winner for The Best FIFA Women's Player Award on 17 December 2020, becoming the first defender to win the award and the first English footballer to do so.
In June 2022, Bronze agreed to join Barcelona after her contract with Manchester City expired. The Guardian reported around the time that while Bronze and City manager Gareth Taylor did not mention it in public, there were tensions between them about Bronze's role in the City team during the previous season. Of the move, Bronze said that she prefers playing abroad and wanted to take the opportunity to play for a club as renowned as Barcelona. In August 2022, Barcelona announced that they would register Bronze as a Portuguese national, due to Spanish footballing bodies and the Royal Spanish Football Federation having not agreed, shortly before the season began, how many non-EU citizens each team could register and so preventing new non-EU players from being registered until this was resolved. Spanish media reported heavily on the uncertainty, with Bronze at the time said to be "bemused by the fuss"; she told The Guardian that using her Portuguese ID was as valid as using her British ID and not playing the system.
In the 2022–23 pre-season for Barcelona, Bronze mentioned that the coach encouraged her to be fluid in her position as a right back; in their first league game, she moved into the midfield in the 60th minute to make plays with England teammate Keira Walsh. Then-England manager Phil Neville had commented in 2019 that "Walsh and Bronze together in central midfield are so brave and so good at winning the ball, and then keeping it, under pressure. They are colossi."
Bronze was called into the England under-17 squad in March 2007, aged fifteen, while she was playing for Blyth Town WFC in the Northern Girls Tyne Tees League. She was called up to the squad for the U-17 Euro qualifiers later that year. She was part of successful England youth teams at all age groups: she was in the under-17 squad that came fourth in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand, part of the under-19 squad that won the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship in July 2009, and part of the under-19 squad that finished runners-up to France in the U-19 UEFA in June 2010.
She was called into an England under-20 training camp in January 2010. After featuring in all three games during the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, Bronze made her debut for the England under-23 team in a 2–1 win over Germany in September 2010.
When Bronze was 16, her parents were approached by Mónica Jorge of the Portuguese football association, who extended an invitation for Bronze to join and train with Portugal. Bronze later said she seriously considered this offer for several years and was prepared to switch to Portugal when she was 22; though she was playing for the England youth teams, she was consistently left out of the senior England squad under manager Hope Powell. Bronze added that Powell made her feel unwelcome in the team when she was called-up for the first time and this also prompted her to consider a move to Portugal. When the England management changed, Bronze decided to stay.
Bronze made her debut for the England senior team on 26 June 2013 as a substitute in the 67th minute for Dunia Susi in a friendly against world champions Japan at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton-upon-Trent. She had a claimed goal disallowed in the 89th minute of the 1–1 draw. The following month, she was an unused member of the squad at Euro 2013 in Sweden, a group stage exit.
Bronze scored her first England goal on 14 June 2014, in a 3–0 away win over Belarus in World Cup qualification. She scored again on 17 September, as England concluded their qualification process with a 10–0 away win over Montenegro and a 100% record. On 23 November Bronze started England's 0–3 defeat by Germany in the first England women's match at Wembley Stadium.
Bronze was part of the England squad at the 2015 Women's World Cup. In the last 16 against Norway in Ottawa, she scored the winning goal from outside the penalty area as England came from behind to win 2–1, their first knock-out win at the World Cup. She also went on to score what proved to be the quarter-final winner against Canada in Vancouver as she netted England's second from a header in the 14th minute. She was widely praised as one of the best performers for England team at the World Cup. For her performances in the tournament, Bronze was included in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup All Star Team and shortlisted for the Golden Ball – the award given to the best player at the Women's World Cup.
In July 2017, she was named in the squad for the UEFA Women's Euro 2017, which England lost 3–0 to eventual winners Netherlands in the semi-final. For her performances in the tournament, Bronze was included in the 2017 UEFA Team of the Tournament.
In 2019, Bronze was part of the England team that won the SheBelieves Cup in the United States. Later that year, Bronze was selected in England's 2019 World Cup squad. As part of England's social-media facing squad announcement, her name was announced by former footballer Alex Scott. Bronze scored during a 3–0 victory over Norway in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. England finished the tournament in fourth place. Bronze ended up winning the tournament's silver ball, being the second best player in the tournament. After the World Cup, Bronze played in an unfamiliar central midfield role in friendlies against Belgium and Norway, having previously played there in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, with England manager Phil Neville likening her to Philipp Lahm. Neville said: "We have a two-year period now where playing Lucy in midfield might be one of the risks we take ... Pep Guardiola did it with Philip Lahm. He was voted one of the best right-backs, but he put him into midfield."
In June 2022, Bronze was named to the England squad which won the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 in July. She won the ball from a corner to create England's winning goal by Chloe Kelly with 10 minutes left of extra time in the final against Germany. Including appearances for Great Britain at the Olympics, the Euro 2022 final was Bronze's 100th international match.
Bronze first learnt that football is played at the Olympic Games when she was approached ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics and told that she was on the longlist for selection to the Great Britain women's Olympic football team; at this point she still had not been called up to the senior England team and was pleased she was being considered. She was not picked for the final team, and GB did not send football teams to the 2016 Games. She represented Great Britain at the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in 2021.
|Team||Season||NCAA Regular Season||ACC Tournament||NCAA Tournament||Total|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||2009||Div. I||6||0||12||1||6||2||24||3|
|Manchester City||2015||WSL 1||11||2||1||0||4||0||—||16||2|
|Olympique Lyonnais||2017–18||Division 1||19||2||3||0||—||8||2||30||4|
- Statistics accurate as of match played 6 September 2022.
- As of match played 6 September 2022
- Scores and results list England's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Bronze goal.
|1||14 June 2014||Traktar Stadium, Minsk, Belarus||Belarus||3–0||3–0||World Cup 2015 qualification|||
|2||17 September 2014||Stadion Pod Malim Brdom, Petrovac, Montenegro||Montenegro||4–0||10–0||World Cup 2015 qualification|||
|3||22 June 2015||Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa, Canada||Norway||2–1||2–1||2015 FIFA Women's World Cup|||
|4||27 June 2015||BC Place, Vancouver, Canada||Canada||2–0||2–1||2015 FIFA Women's World Cup|||
|5||10 April 2017||Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, England||Austria||2–0||3–0||Friendly|||
|6||19 September 2017||Prenton Park, Birkenhead, England||Russia||4–0||6–0||World Cup 2019 qualification|||
|7||4 September 2018||Pavlodar Central Stadium, Pavlodar, Kazakhstan||Kazakhstan||6–0||6–0||World Cup 2019 qualification|||
|8||27 June 2019||Stade Océane, Le Havre, France||Norway||3–0||3–0||2019 FIFA Women's World Cup|||
|9||23 February 2021||St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, England||Northern Ireland||3–0||6–0||Friendly|||
|10||24 June 2022||Elland Road, Leeds, England||Netherlands||1–1||5–1||Friendly|||
|11||26 July 2022||Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England||Sweden||2–0||4–0||UEFA Women's Euro 2022|||
University of North Carolina
- UEFA Women's Champions League: 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
- Division 1 Féminine: 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
- Coupe de France féminine: 2019, 2020
- Trophée des Championnes: 2019
- FIFA Women's World Cup third place: 2015
- UEFA Women's Championship: 2022
- SheBelieves Cup: 2019
- Arnold Clark Cup: 2022
- Sunderland Manager's Player of the Year: 2007–08
- NCAA Soccer America All-Freshman Second Team: 2009
- PFA Team of the Year: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
- PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year: 2013–14, 2016–17
- FIFA Women's World Cup All-Star Squad: 2015, 2019[n 2]
- England Player of the Year: 2015, 2019
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award nominee: 2015
- FA WSL 1 Players' Player of the Year: 2016
- MCWFC Etihad Airways Player of the Season: 2016
- UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award: eighth 2016–17, fifth 2017–18, won 2018–19, third 2019–20
- Trophées FFF D1 Féminine Team of the Year: 2017–2018
- FIFA FIFPRO Women's World 11: 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021
- IFFHS Women's World Team: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- BBC Women's Footballer of the Year: 2018, 2020
- Ballon d'Or Féminin: sixth 2018, second 2019, nominated 2022
- FIFA Women's World Cup Silver Ball: 2019
- Globe Soccer Awards Best Women's Player of the Year: 2019
- The Best FIFA Women's Player: 2020
- IFFHS World All-time Women's Dream Team: awarded 2021
- IFFHS Europe All-time Women's Dream Team: awarded 2021
- FA WSL Player of the Month: February 2021
- IFFHS England All-time Women's Dream Team: awarded 2022
Bronze is multilingual, speaking English, Portuguese, and French, the latter of which she learnt while playing for Lyon. She began learning Spanish, but not Catalan, in anticipation of playing for Barcelona; at the club she did not use an interpreter, realising that her knowledge of Portuguese and French helped to fill in the blanks when she was still learning. She does not often discuss her personal life, but is known to be LGBTQ. She has a West Highland White Terrier called Narla, who she shares with teammate Keira Walsh; Narla also has an Instagram account. Before she saw football as a viable full-time career, Bronze planned to become an accountant and work to pay to continue to play football.
- List of FIFA Women's World Cup goalscorers
- List of England women's international footballers
- List of Manchester City W.F.C. players
- List of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Olympians
- List of women's footballers with 100 or more international caps
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