Rachel Yankey

Rachel Yankey
London Bees v Tottenham Hotspur LFC, 10 February 2019 (03) (cropped).jpg
Yankey in 2019
Personal information
Full name Rachel Aba Yankey[1]
Date of birth (1979-11-01) 1 November 1979 (age 40)
Place of birth London, England
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[2]
Playing position Winger, Forward
Youth career
1989–???? Mill Hill United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2000 Arsenal Ladies 47 (8)
2000Laval Dynamites (loan) 25 (10)
2000–2004 Fulham Ladies 15 (6)
2004–2005 Birmingham Ladies 13 (7)
2005 New Jersey Wildcats 29 (5)
2005–2016 Arsenal Ladies 151 (43)
2016Notts County Ladies (loan) 5 (0)
National team
1997–2013 England[3] 129 (19)
2012 Great Britain 5 (0)
Teams managed
2019 London Bees
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:30, 12 June 2017 (UTC+1) [4][5]
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 16:00, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Rachel Aba Yankey, OBE (born 1 November 1979) is an English former footballer who played for the England national team. She played as a left winger or forward. She left Arsenal after 13 years in December 2016 at the end of her contract. She is ranked among the Arsenal Ladies Legends.

Since making her debut in 1997, Yankey has appeared on 129 occasions for England and became the most capped player ever to play for England, ahead of male goalkeeper Peter Shilton with 125. She was the second English female player, after Gillian Coultard, to make a century of international appearances. Yankey was part of the Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics.

Early life

Yankey began playing football as the only girl in a boys' team. Aged eight she shaved her hair off, pretending to be a boy called 'Ray' (an acronym of her birth names). She was able to play in the boys' team for two years before her real identity was discovered.[6]

Yankey joined Mill Hill United at youth level after the club's manager, Russell Mountford, attended an annual general meeting (AGM) at Yankey's boys' club.[7][8] She also represented Brent in the London Youth Games as a youngster, and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2011

Club career

Yankey's senior playing career began at the age of 16, playing for Arsenal, when she spent a short time on loan with Laval Dynamites, a Canadian team, and then moved to Fulham in 2000.

Playing for Arsenal in October 2006

It was here that she was registered as the first professional female footballer in England. She joined Birmingham City before the 2004–05 season, and then, after being released from Birmingham, rejoined Arsenal for the 2005–06 season after a short spell with the New Jersey Wildcats of the W-League in the United States. Yankey, along with England teammate Rachel Unitt, played for the Wildcats for the last seven games of the season, and helped them win the W-League championship. In 2011, she helped Arsenal to another domestic treble.

In January 2014 Yankey signed a new two-year contract with Arsenal. She was praised by the club's general manager, Vic Akers: "She remains a key part of the team and her ability and experience will be invaluable in the season ahead." As of 30 December 2016 Yankey was released by Arsenal at the end of her Contract.[9]

International career

In August 1997 Yankey made her senior England debut, scoring in a 4–0 win over Scotland at Almondvale Stadium.[10]

Yankey became arguably the most famous female footballer in England. having modelled new England kits, and appeared on the FA women's homepage header. She is also noted for appearing in the BBC's online BBC Sport 'Academy Masterclasses' mini-series, teaching young footballers basic soccer skills.[11]

In May 2009, Yankey was one of the first 17 female players to be given central contracts by The Football Association.[12] However, in August 2009 she was surprisingly left out of coach Hope Powell's 22–player squad for Euro 2009[13] with Powell believing that her form did not justify a call–up. Yankey was also overlooked for the 2011 Women's World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Turkey. But after a return to form with Arsenal Ladies, she was recalled by Powell for the 2010 Cyprus Cup[14] and won her 90th and 91st caps — as a 76th-minute substitute for Jessica Clarke in a 1–0 win over South Africa and as a starter in a 1–0 defeat to Canada.

A return to form at both club and international level saw Yankey being selected regularly again by Powell, and on 29 July 2010 Yankey became the second Englishwoman after Gillian Coultard to earn 100 caps during a home World Cup qualifier against Turkey. Yankey, who was captain for the night, scored a goal and played the entire 90 minutes as England won 3–0.[15]

In a World Cup warm–up friendly against the United States, Yankey hit the second goal in England's 2–1 win at Brisbane Road.[16] At the final tournament Yankey netted in England's 2–0 group B win over Japan after coming on as a half–time substitute.[17]

In June 2012 Yankey equalled Coultard's record of 119 appearances for England in a 4–0 win in Slovenia.[18] She set a new record of 120 caps by playing in England's 3–0 win over Croatia at Bescot Stadium on 19 September 2012.[19] In June 2013 Yankey played in a 1–1 friendly draw with Japan and broke Peter Shilton's all-time national record of 125 caps.[20] She was included in the England squad which performed poorly at UEFA Women's Euro 2013 and was eliminated in the first round.[21]

Incoming England manager Mark Sampson left Yankey out of his first squad in December 2013.[22] He stressed that "the door is firmly open" for her to come back in.[23]

Great Britain Olympic

Rachel Yankey at the 2012 London Summer Olympics

In June 2012 Yankey was named in the 18–player Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics.[24]

International goals

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 24 August 1997 Almondvale Stadium, Livingston  Scotland 4–0 Friendly 1
2 13 September 1998 Câmpina  Romania 4–1 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Qual. 1
3 28 November 2000 Brisbane Road, London  Ukraine 2–0 2001 UEFA Women's Championship Qual. 1
4 27 September 2001 Auestadion, Kassel  Germany 1–3 2003 FIFA World Cup Qual. 1
5 4 September 2003 Turf Moor, Burnley  Australia 1–0 Friendly 1
7 9 March 2005 Faro  Portugal 4–0 Algarve Cup 2
8 13 March 2005 Estádio Fernando Cabrita, Lagos  Mexico 5–0 Algarve Cup 1
9 27 October 2005 Tapolca  Hungary 13–0 2007 FIFA World Cup Qual. 1
10 31 August 2006 The Valley, London  Netherlands 4–0 2007 FIFA World Cup Qual. 1
11 8 March 2007 National Hockey Stadium, Milton Keynes  Russia 6–0 Friendly 1
12 17 May 2007 Roots Hall, Southend  Iceland 4–0 Friendly 1
13 11 February 2009 Larnaca  Finland 4–1 Friendly 1
14 29 July 2010 Bescot Stadium, Walsall  Turkey 3–0 2011 FIFA World Cup Qual. 1
15 2 April 2011 Brisbane Road, London  United States 2–1 Friendly 1
16 5 July 2011 Impuls Arena, Augsburg  Japan 2–0 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup 1
17 17 September 2011 Omladinski stadion, Belgrade  Serbia 2–2 2013 UEFA Women's Championship Qual. 1
18 22 September 2011 County Ground, Swindon  Slovenia 4–0 2013 UEFA Women's Championship Qual. 1
19 17 June 2012 Salford City Stadium  Netherlands 1–0 2013 UEFA Women's Championship Qual. 1
20 13 March 2013 GSZ Stadium, Larnaca, Cyprus  Canada 1–0 2013 Cyprus Cup Final 1

Coaching career

Yankey was announced as a first team coach of London Bees in June 2018.[25] Following the departure of Luke Swindlehurst in February 2019 to become head coach of Barnet's under-18s team, Yankey was appointed Head Coach.[26] She left the club in May 2019.[27]


Yankey in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup


New Jersey Wildcats


  • Nationwide International Player of the Year (2004–05) season
  • London Youth Games Hall of Famer (Class of 2011) [28]

Yankey was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours[29] and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours,[30] both for services to football.

Personal life

When not playing, or practicing, Yankey works as a coach in schools, teaching football to children.[31] This includes hosting a CBeebies programme, Footy Pups.[32] It was reported that Yankey's middle name came about as her mother was a fan of ABBA, the Swedish pop group.[33] However, in 2010 Yankey indicated that it was actually related to her Ghanaian heritage.[34]


  1. ^ "List of Players under Written Contract Registered Between 01/02/2012 and 28/02/2012". The Football Association. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  2. ^ "#11 Rachel Yankey". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Rachel Yankey". Official website. The FA. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Rachel Yankey".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Rachel Yankey".
  6. ^ Creighton, Jessica (20 September 2013). "Rachel Yankey: England footballer keen to inspire next generation". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  7. ^ Watson, Danielle (16 April 2014). "An Interview With Rachel Yankey – England's Most Capped English Football Player Across Both Men and Women's Football". This Woman's Word. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  8. ^ Saffer, Paul (22 January 2014). "The making of Arsenal's Rachel Yankey". London: UEFA. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Arsenal Ladies' Rachel Yankey signs new two-year deal". BBC Sport. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  10. ^ Sweet, Susan (25 August 1997). "England excel as Coultard joins club". London: The Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  11. ^ "England women Fixtures and Results, 2004/05". Cresswell Wanderers FC. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  12. ^ "England Women awarded contracts". BBC Sport. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  13. ^ Tony Leighton (4 August 2009). "England drop Yankey for Euro 2009". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  14. ^ Tony Leighton (8 February 2010). "Arsenal's Rachel Yankey back in England's women squad". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  15. ^ Tony Leighton (29 July 2010). "England 3–0 Turkey". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  16. ^ Tony Leighton (2 April 2011). "England women warm up for World Cup with victory over USA". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  17. ^ Jonathan Stevenson (5 July 2011). "Women's World Cup: England 2–0 Japan". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Yankey equals England Ladies caps record". Arsenal.com. 22 June 2012. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  19. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (19 September 2012). "England women secure place at Euro 2013 with win over Croatia". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  20. ^ "Rachel Yankey breaks Peter Shilton's 125 England caps". British Broadcasting Corporation. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  21. ^ Turner, Georgina (20 September 2013). "Rachel Yankey: 'England need to prove Euro 2013 was a blip'". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  22. ^ "No place for Rachel Yankey in Mark Sampson's England squad for La Manga". Sky Sports. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  23. ^ Etoe, Catherine (19 December 2013). "Sampsonmeets the media". She Kicks. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  24. ^ "Team GB women's squad for London 2012 announced". BBC Sport. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  25. ^ Frith, Wilf (29 June 2018). "Rachel Yankey joins London Bees coaching team". She Kicks Women's Football Magazine. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  26. ^ Statement | Rachel Yankey named Head Coach
  27. ^ "Rachel Yankey: England legend leaves role as London Bees head coach". BBC Sport. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Arsenal Ladies Striker Rachel Yankey's Youth Games Hall of Fame honour". Camden New Journal. 29 September 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  29. ^ "New Year's Honours". BBC.co.uk. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 4 November 2006.
  30. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 15.
  31. ^ Louise Hudson (10 April 2008). "Sportsister meets Arsenal and England's Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey". Sports Sister. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  32. ^ "Footy Pups". 14 May 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  33. ^ Sarah Winterburn (11 June 2005). "WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: YANKEY: WE AB TO BATTLE ON". News-Top stories. The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 9 September 2009. Winger Rachel Abba Yankey that is, who has her mum to thank for the middle name given in 1979 when the Swedish group were the biggest band in the world.
  34. ^ Aron Lavery (1 March 2014). "Rachel Yankey: a ton of success for the England women's star". Umbro.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2011.

External links

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