England to celebrate 50th anniversary of women’s team at USA game in October
England will celebrate the women’s senior team’s 50th anniversary during the international game against the United States at Wembley next month.
Members of England’s inaugural team of 1972 will line up with the current Lionesses prior to kick-off.
More than 100 former internationals are expected to attend the sold-out fixture on Friday, 7 October.
“It is great we can say thank you to the Lionesses legends,” England manager Sarina Wiegman said.
“We are all grateful to the former generation of players who have paved the way for today’s growth and success.”
Players from the 1972 team, who played in England’s first full international against Scotland – a 3-2 win in Greenock, near Glasgow – will also receive a bespoke England cap as part of the evening’s celebrations.
The FA banned women’s football in 1921, a time when the women’s game was attracting crowds of 53,000, and it wasn’t until nearly 50 years later when the FA rescinded that ban in 1970.
Wiegman, who led England to victory at the 2022 Women’s European Championships this summer, added: “All of them represented their country with so much talent but also fought so hard on and off the pitch to break barriers and make the women’s game what it now is.
“The players today also know the challenges they faced and appreciate everything that has been done to give them the opportunities they now have.”
At half-time, all former players, who have been identified through a research programme commissioned by the FA, will be invited pitchside to be celebrated by the crowd.
Also in line with the 50th anniversary, the England women’s team adopt the men’s tradition of legacy numbers which sees players who have represented the country at a senior level receive their own unique number.
These legacy numbers will be announced in November and will be worn on matchday shirts from 2023 onwards.
Kay Cossington, Head of women’s technical at the FA, said: “The USA game will be a fantastic chance to celebrate and thank all the Lionesses who have worn the shirt with pride since 1972.
“The FA is indebted to every former player, all of whom are valued members of the ‘England family’. The summer’s success and sell-out crowds at Wembley Stadium would not be possible without them and we hope they can reflect on the role they have played and they enjoy their evening.”