Rosie Parnell announces retirement

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Southampton FC Women's captain Rosie Parnell has announced her retirement from football at the end of the 2023/24 season.

Having just turned 30, Parnell has called time on her footballing career that came to an end with a successful five-year spell back at her childhood club.

On her decision to step away from the game, she reflected on "a mixture of feelings" in an open letter to Saints supporters.

"It's an easy decision because when you know it’s right, you know, and for me mentally and physically I know it’s the right time - however, having made the decision in January, it’s been a tough few months topped off with being injured and not being able to help the team end on the high I’d imagined."

"I honestly can’t explain how proud I am to have represented this club and to have captained the side to many successes over the years, this club will always be special to me and I will continue to be a super Saints fan in the stands."

Rosie represented the Southampton Centre of Excellence between the ages of 9 and 12, and then returned to her hometown side in 2019 when she joined Saints from London Bees.

Initially dropping down two divisions, fulfilling a childhood and family dream of representing Saints, Parnell's decision paid off as she became an integral part of consecutive promotions.

The centre-back was named permanent club captain as Saints became a full-time outfit for their first-ever season in the Barclays Women's Championship in the 2022/23 season.

She led her side out for a historic first campaign in the second tier of Women's football, and featured in another season of progress in 2023/24 as Saints recorded a record-highest finish and smashed their attendance record at St Mary's Stadium.

Lifting the Women's National League play-off trophy as Saints made history. (Photo: Isabelle Field)

In total, Parnell made 86 appearances and scored twice over five seasons of consistent development in the club's history.

Director of Women’s Football, Marieanne Spacey-Cale added, "it has been a pleasure working with Rosie over the last five years, and she has been an integral member of the squad during such an important period in our history.

"As a leader, a professional, a teammate and as captain, Rosie has always given everything and, as a role model to players around her, she can be proud of her achievements both on and off the pitch with us.

"I know she'll now be as loud of a supporter of the club off the pitch as she was as captain on it. From myself, and on behalf of all the staff and players, thank you for everything."

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