Pitch being watered before kick off at the Peoples Pension Stadium Brighton and Hove Albion Women v Birmingham City Women WSL football match, The People's Pension stadium, Crawley, UK - 20 Feb 2019 Photo: Paul Gregory for The FA

Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender announces retirement

Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Fern Whelan has announced her retirement from playing at the age of 31.

The player was a free agent after not being offered a new contract by Albion boss Hope Powell this summer.

Whelan has battled bravely against injuries during the last two years but has been forced to hang up her boots after taking medical advice. The player announced her retirement via her personal Twitter account earlier today.

Whelan spent three years as a Brighton & Hove Albion player. She joined the club in 2017 following a short spell with Everton with whom she won the 2017 FA Women’s Super League 2 Spring Series. The defender made 23 top flight appearances across her three seasons with Brighton & Hove Albion, although just three of those outings came in the 2019/2020 Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

Former boss Powell has paid tribute to the defender when speaking to Brighton & Hove Albion’s official media sources. She said “Fern has been an outstanding professional during her time with the club and we’re going to miss her ability on the field and her experience in the dressing room. She has played a big part in our development over the last three years.

“I know from speaking to her that the decision to retire was not easy for Fern, but she is embarking on a new phase of her life and everyone at Brighton wishes her all the best for the future.

“I’m sure she will still come and watch our games in the future when it is safe to do so and she will always be welcome at the club.”

Whelan’s final Brighton & Hove Albion appearance came in her side’s 3-0 victory over Birmingham City at The Amex Stadium back in November.

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