Steph Houghton is one of England’s strongest active players, accruing over 100 caps for the English national team. An extremely versatile player — occupying the roles of striker, midfielder, and now defender — Houghton was named captain of the national team in 2014, and continues to serve as the captain today.
At the age of 18, Houghton began her club career in the 2005-06 season for the Sunderland Ladies. Following her performance in the 2006-07 season, Houghton received the FA Young Player of the Year award at the age of 19. She went on to join the Leeds United football club in 2007 (Women’s Soccer Scene).
Houghton would have made her FIFA Women’s World Cup debut with the 2007 squad as the youngest English player to play in the tournament, but she suffered a gruesome broken leg injury in training prior to the tournament (Leighton). Houghton made her return to the game and to the English national team in 2009 following a mentally and physically taxing road to recovery. She has since played a critical role in the team’s success, participating in both the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.
Houghton was appointed to the role of captain in 2014 by head coach Mark Sampson, and helped lead the Three Lionesses to third place during the 2015 World Cup. Houghton scored her first ever World Cup goal in the round of 16 against Norway, propelling the team to victory (FIFA Archive). Houghton was also named the Player of the Match in the team’s victory over Canada, which sent England to its first ever semifinals match against Japan (FIFA Archive).
Houghton went on to lead Leeds United to a FA Women’s Premier League title in 2010, and signed to play with Arsenal in the subsequent season. After four seasons with Arsenal, Houghton signed with Manchester United where she has remained as captain of the team.
- Author Unknown. “Young star Steph joins Leeds.” Women’s Soccer Scene. July 30, 2007. http://www.womenssoccerscene.co.uk/womens-football-news-2007-2008/070730-5.htm
- Leighton, Tony. “Steph Houghton rejoins England squad after two years of injury agony.” The Guardian. January 10, 2010. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/jan/10/steph-houghton-england-women
- FIFA Women’s World Cup Archive: https://www.fifa.com/fifa-tournaments/archive/womensworldcup/index.html