Tottenham Hotspur captain Jenna Schillaci has announced her retirement from football at the age of 36 according to reports on the club’s official website.
The veteran began her career at Tottenham Hotspur as a 16-year-old, playing one season before moving to Queens Park Rangers and then Enfield Town.
In 2009, she returned to Spurs and has been an ever-present member of the squad in the following 11 seasons, making more than 200 appearances for the Club. Schillaci has won eight trophies in that time including captaining the side to the quadruple in the 2016/2017 season. She has won promotion with the club on no less than three occasions.
This season has been a mixed one for the centre-back who signed her first professional contract last summer and led the team out in their first-ever Barclays FA Women’s Super League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. After this game, her chances in the first team became more limited but in what was to be her final game for the club, she made history once again, captaining the team as Spurs reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time by beating Coventry United 5-0 in the fifth round.
In paying tribute to her, teammates past and present have noted the huge impact that Schillaci has had on the club and many have commented on how welcome she made them feel when they joined.
Former Spurs defender Renee Hector said “[Jenna is] the best centre-back partner and big sister that anyone could ever ask for.”
Head coach Juan Amoros said “[Jenna is] a true legend, a true legend for me is someone who leads in the good times, but also the one who leads in the tough challenges and the low moments and that is where [Jenna] has excelled.”
With the end of her career having been confirmed, Schillaci told the club website “I feel unbelievably proud of what I have achieved while at Spurs and my journey has felt like a dream.
“Being a Spurs fan, from going to watch the team when I was a young girl and dreaming of playing at White Hart Lane, which I got to do, I am very grateful and honoured to have been given so many amazing opportunities at the club and to have captained the team for all these years.
In a personal statement on Twitter Jenna added “I can’t wait to see the girls create more history for
Spurs Women next season – I will forever be the team’s biggest fan!”
— Jenna Schillaci (@JennaSchillaci) June 26, 2020
Whilst her retirement will come as no surprise to fans, they will be sad that it comes at a time when they cannot say goodbye in person. The club have said that they will put plans in place for this when it is safe to do so.
A true legend not just of Tottenham Hotspur but of the women’s game, a player who always had time and a
smile for everyone, she will be missed on the pitch but there is, no doubt, so much more to come from her as she looks to inspire the next generation.
The player has said “My message to any young aspiring footballer would be to never give up on your dreams. I’m looking forward to my next chapter and giving back to the next generation.”
By Sian Wallis (@Sian_Wallis)