Record England goalscorer Kelly Smith retires from professional football

Record England goalscorer Kelly Smith retires from professional football

A legend for club and country, Kelly Smith - of England and Arsenal Ladies - announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Chloe Leadbeater

England legend Kelly Smith has called time on her illustrious playing career at the age of 38 and will go straight into full-time coaching at Arsenal.

She ends a career having score more goals than anyone else for her national team, with 46 in 117 appearances, and having played at two World Cups and four European Championships

Smith, who won five FA Cups in his time with Arsenal and scored an incredible six goals in five finals for the Gunners, helping also win a number of titles and the UEFA Cup (now the Champions League) in 2006-07 - remaining the only British team to do so.

Smith, awarded an MBE for her incredible services to football in 2008, also represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics.

Smith brings curtain down on incredible career

Smith started off her senior career at Wembley Ladies in 1994. The club was formed after District Line Ladies FC (now London Bees after they joined up with Wembley FC).

She then made her England debut on 1st November 1995 when she was just 17, in a 1-1 draw against Italy at Roker Park. In 1996, she moved to Arsenal.

Smith's career saw her switch from Arsenal to various American teams. Her first stint was in college football. She played for Seton Hall Pirates where she scored 76 goals in 51 games.

From there, she moved onto New Jersey Lady Stallions who played in the then-USL W-League. When the WUSA was formed, she was drafted by Philadelphia Charge and in 2004, returned to New Jersey for the Wildcats.

In 2005, she returned to Arsenal and enjoyed probably the best period of club football for herself and the club. In her four-year stint there, she scored a spectacular goal to secure the Women's Premier League title for Arsenal in the 2004-2005 season. She was also part of the famous Quadruple winning team in 2006-2007, scoring 30 goals in 34 games in all competitions that season.

When the Women's Professional Soccer League was formed, Smith was drafted by Boston Breakers second overall, ahead of Marta in third but behind Formiga. She played from 2009 until 2012 for them before returning once again to Arsenal.

During her few stints at Arsenal, she has won five FA Cups with the most recent one last year at Wembley Stadium - where she still looked to be a phenomenal player.

During all the moving around from USA to UK and vice versa, she became an England legend and has to be regarded as one of the best of all time.

She has competed in three European Championships (2001, 2005 and 2009) and two World Cups (2007 and 2011). She was also part of qualifying for the 2013 Euros and the London Olympics in 2012.

In September 2010, she became England's top goalscorer and has amassed 46 goals in 117 caps. She retired from international football in February 2015.

Smith leaves behind a phenomenal playing career in which she inspired many including even the current crop of Lionesses. She will go on to inspire and help nurture the next generation in her full-time coaching role at Arsenal.