Courtney Sweetman-Kirk finished last season with five goals in her last five games but insists the time was right was to call time on her career.

The 33-year-old spent her career racking up the goals everywhere she played, from her early days at Leicester City, via spells at Doncaster Rovers Belles, Liverpool and Everton, before finishing up at Sheffield United.

And if her form at the end of last season was anything to go by, Sweetman-Kirk still had a lot more to give on the pitch.

Despite that, a budding media career convinced her that the moment was right to walk away, and it is a decision which she has not regretted for an instant.

Hillingdon Times:

“I’ve been a professional for ten years and playing football for even longer,” she said. 

“I’ve spent so much of my life living out of bags. It’s amazing, I’ve travelled the world but for me, I thought it was time now to come back to base a little bit, get a bit more settled. 

“Juggling the media and the football for the last three years has been amazing but it’s been a lot. I think, going forward now, the media and ambassadorial stuff is the route I really want to pursue.

“Everyone knows that I don’t like to do things half-heartedly. So it was a choice of really putting my efforts and emotions into one side of it. I think that is my forever career now. I was happy where I was and felt with football that I was never going to achieve more than I had.

“I had some fantastic times and there was a stubbornness in my head that I wanted to leave the game on my terms, while I was still getting offers and fit. I didn’t want anyone but me to stop me playing so I felt it was the right time to leave the game.

“I had some chats with different clubs to see if they could entice me but I think that family life is the big thing. To be a good footballer, you have to be poor with your relationships at times. I’ve got a little three-year-old niece and friends and family who I should be giving a bit more attention to.” 

Sweetman-Kirk has become a familiar voice in the football landscape, working as a pundit and a co-commentator across both the men’s and women’s game.

Already, she has achieved more than she expected in the media game, culminating in working at the World Cup earlier this year, a big tick off the bucket list.

She explained that it was one of the reasons why she was willing to walk away from her playing career, despite multiple offers to keep going.

Hillingdon Times:

“I thought it would be tough in the first few weeks but I don’t miss it,” she added. 

“I went to Australia in the summer for the World Cup, that was quite a big motivation. I knew I would miss a lot of pre-season. I said to myself that if I come back and really miss it, I’m sure I’d have some options. But I don’t at all. 

“There are parts of me that do, playing and winning games, scoring goals, those feelings. But the rest of it, the travelling, the training, the cold nights. A couple of nights ago, I looked out of the window and it was freezing and windy and chucking it down with rain. I was thinking that they are all there training and I’m happy at home with the dog and a heated blanket watching something awful on the telly. 

“There are things I miss but being involved in football, the media work and being involved at Utilita, being an ambassador for them, I can go into football clubs in a different capacity. I can still scratch that itch in some sense. I can still choose what I do.”

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