Chelsea Ladies v Sunderland Ladies: Cats star retires from football

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Vicki Greenwell is calling time on her Sunderland Ladies career and dreams of going out on a high against Chelsea.

The 30-year-old has announced her retirement after a sensational debut Women’s Super League season for her and the Lady Black Cats.

I nearly walked away, but then I thought ‘let’s do this year, you’ve come this far’.

VICKI GREENWELL

Greenwell and Co play their final WSL match at Staines on Sunday when the Blues chase the title, live on BT Sport (kick-off 6pm).

A Geordie who has proudly excelled in red and white, she says there are “mixed emotions” about hangng up her boots.

But Greenwell, a site manager for Seymours, a civil engineering company, says combining a career outside football with the demands of WSL is too great.

“I’ve loved playing football and have done it for 16 years,” Greenwell told the Echo.

“I had nine years with Newcastle and the last seven with Sunderland and a spell in the USA with Memphis.

“It has all been great, but I have a career which is important to me.

“There are mixed emotions and I’d keep playing if I could.

“But I work 50 hours a week in my job and it’s hard to commit to the training, the rest and the diet required for WSL1.”

Greenwell admitted she almost quit earlier, but carried on – which is just as well.

She had lost her left-back spot at the start of the programme but after regaining it, scored a stunning free-kick in the 3-0 win over Birmingham and boasts eight assists.

“At the beginning of the season I found it difficult to adapt to WSL1 and the demands that comes with it,” said Greenwell who boasts one of the best left feet in the top flight.

“I nearly walked away, but then I thought ‘let’s do this year, you’ve come this far’.

“I am glad I did and winning a place in the side and playing every week has been a bonus.

“If we can win on Sunday that would be the icing on the cake.”

It will be tough – Chelsea are playing for the title and have lost only twice in 2015 and conceded just 10 goals.

Four of those came in a 4-0 blitz by Sunderland, which is one of the highlights of Greenwell’s career.

“There are many things I’ll look back on but that win was a great achievement,” said the defender.

“So too was the FA Cup final in 2009 when we played Arsenal.”

Greenwell thanked her first coach, Rob Atkin, ex-Sunderland boss Mick Mulhern, and current head coach and assistant Carlton Fairweather and Melanie Reay for what they had done in her football career.