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Rachel Unitt

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Rachel Unitt
Personal information
Full name Rachel Elizabeth Unitt[1]
Date of birth (1982-06-05) 5 June 1982 (age 36)
Place of birth Walsall, England
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)[2]
Playing position Left-back
Club information
Current team
Solihull Ladies
Number 6
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2000 Wolves Women
2000–2001 Everton Ladies
2001–2004 Fulham Ladies
2004–2011 Everton Ladies
2005 New Jersey Wildcats 3 (2)
2010 Leeds City Vixens
2012–2013 Birmingham City 11 (1)
2014–2016 Notts County 5 (0)
2016–2017 Solihull
National team
2000– England 102 (8)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:54, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:54, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Rachel Elizabeth Unitt (born 5 June 1982) is an English footballer who plays for FA WSL club Solihull. After beginning her club career with Wolves, Unitt began a long association with Everton in 2000. This was intersected by a three-year spell at Fulham between 2001 and 2004 and a summer on loan to New Jersey Wildcats in 2005. She left Everton in 2012 for a two-year stint at Birmingham City and later played for Notts County in 2014. A sturdy left back, Unitt has won over 100 caps for the England women's national football team since her debut in August 2000. She represented England at the 2001, 2005 and 2009 editions of the UEFA Women's Championship as well as at the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2007 and 2011. She was ruled out of both the 2013 UEFA Women's Championship and the Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics due to injury. In 2004 and 2006 Unitt was named The Football Association's (FA) International Player of the Year. In 2016, she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.[3]

Club career[edit]

Unitt started her footballing career with Wolves Women as a 14-year-old.[4] She joined Everton Ladies for 2000–01, before signing a professional contract with Fulham L.F.C. the following season. After a successful spell at Fulham, she returned to Everton in 2004. Her achievements to date include winning the domestic treble with Fulham in the 2002–03 season and the 2010 FA Women's Cup with Everton.

In July 2005, Unitt joined American W-League side New Jersey Wildcats for the last seven games of their season, teaming up with England and former Fulham teammate Rachel Yankey. The Wildcats eventually won the W-League championship, beating the Ottawa Fury Women by 3–0 in the championship match with Unitt scoring the first goal. Unitt also trained with Malmö FF in December 2005, but, fearing burn-out, rejected a contract offer from the Swedish club.[5]

With Everton dormant ahead of the 2011 FA WSL season, Unitt played for Leeds City Vixens in the FA Women's Premier League Cup.[6]

At the end of the 2011 FA WSL season, Unitt put in a transfer request after eight years at Everton.[7] Following negotiations a move to Birmingham City was announced in February 2012.[8] After her time at the club was disrupted by injury, Unitt rejected Birmingham's offer of a contract extension in January 2014 and left the club as a free agent.[9] She signed for Notts County on 30 January 2014,[10] only to suffer an injury to the cruciate ligament in her other knee during the 2014 FA WSL season.[11] In December 2014 she agreed to stay with Notts County, combining her rehabilitation with a place on the club's coaching staff.[12]

In 2016, Unitt played for Solihull L.F.C., a women's football club in the West Midlands, in the FA Women's Premier League.[13]

Mount Kilimanjaro[edit]

In 2017, Rachel climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with 30 female footballers, most of whom have played pro in multiple countries and been part of UEFA, Euro's or World Cup competitions, in addition to a medical team and film crew. She played in the highest altitude game of football ever played at 18,871 feet in thin air. She helped break a world record in doing so and an independent film was made to record the epic journey.

International career[edit]

Unitt first played for England in 2000, after 16 appearances for the U18s. Her senior debut came in August 2000, in a 1–0 friendly defeat to France, before 50,000 spectators at Stade Vélodrome.[14][15] She scored her first international goal in England’s victory over the Netherlands in September 2004,[16] and scored twice more in her home town of Walsall during England's 4–1 friendly win over the Czech Republic in May 2005.[17]

Unitt was named the Nationwide International Player of the Year at the 2004 The FA Women's Football Awards. She won the same award in 2006, voted for by the fans on the FA website.[18]

In May 2009, Unitt was one of the first 17 female players to be given central contracts by The Football Association.[19]

At the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China, Unitt was the only outfield member of the England squad who remained unused. On the occasion of her 90th cap, she eventually made a World Cup debut in June 2011, starting England's 1–1 draw with Mexico in Wolfsburg.[20] In March 2012 a Euro 2013 qualifier in Croatia saw Unitt win her 100th international cap. Captain for the day, Unitt scored England's third goal in a 6–0 victory, with a diving header.[21]

A foot injury kept Unitt out of contention for a place in the Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics. During her absence Steph Houghton became the first choice left–back for the national team.[22] In May 2013 Unitt suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Birmingham's 1–1 FA WSL Cup draw with Lincoln, which ruled her out of UEFA Women's Euro 2013.[23]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 22 September 2004 Sportcomplex Hollandia, Tuitjenhorn  Netherlands 1–0 Friendly 1
3 26 May 2005 Bescot Stadium, Walsall  Czech Republic 4–1 Friendly 2
4 9 February 2006 Dasaki Stadium, Achna  Sweden 1–1 Friendly 1
5 25 October 2009 Bloomfield Road, Blackpool  Malta 8–0 2011 FIFA World Cup qual. 1
6 26 November 2009 Buca Arena, İzmir  Turkey 3–0 2011 FIFA World Cup qual. 1
7 19 June 2010 Aranda de Duero  Spain 2–2 2011 FIFA World Cup qual. 1
8 31 March 2012 Sajmište, Vrbovec  Croatia 6–0 2013 UEFA Championship qual. 1

Honours[edit]

2002–03
2001–02, 2002–03, 2009–10, 2011–12
2001–02, 2002–03, 2007–08
2001–02
2002–03, 2003–04
  • FA International Player of the Year Award: 2
2003–04, 2005–06

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Player Statistics". FIFA. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "#14 Rachel Unitt". The Sports Network. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "England legends inducted into Museum's Hall of Fame". England Football Association. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Matt Newsum (12 September 2006). "Rachel Unitt". BBC Dorset. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Malmö FF giving up hope on Unitt transfer". Soccerway. 4 February 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Premier League Cup Results". She Kicks. 30 October 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Matthew Gamble (8 February 2012). "Unitt exits Everton". Everton FC. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "STRENGTH IN UNITT-Y". Birmingham City FC. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Unitt to leave Birmingham". She Kicks. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Three more join Notts County". She Kicks. 30 January 2014. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Rachel Unitt: England and Notts Ladies defender injures knee". BBC Sport. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Unitt to aid Notts County coaching team". She Kicks. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Solihull Ladies enjoy FA Women's Cup success". Solihull Moors FC. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  14. ^ "England learn lessons in defeat". TheFA.com. 5 August 2000. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  15. ^ "Mega Mirror: football crazy". The Mirror. 17 March 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  16. ^ Tony Leighton (22 September 2004). "Unitt sees off Holland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "England 4–1 Czech Republic". BBC Sport. 27 May 2005. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  18. ^ FA website Rachel Unitt profile
  19. ^ "England Women awarded contracts". BBC Sport. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  20. ^ Tony Leighton (28 June 2011). "Speedy Mexican Recap". She Kicks. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  21. ^ Lavery, Glenn (31 March 2012). "Lions on course in Croatia". TheFA.com. The Football Association. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  22. ^ Garrity, Paul (22 May 2013). "Rachel Unitt to miss rest of season and Euro 2013 with knee injury". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  23. ^ Garrity, Paul (22 May 2013). "England lose Unitt for finals". UEFA. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 

External links[edit]