Player name in full: Stephanie Jayne Houghton
To/from dates: 2014 - Present
Number of appearances: 81 (as of April 2020)
Goals scored: 10 (as of April 2020)
Biography and City Career:
Steph was born on 23rd April 1988 in Durham.
Steph began playing football in her native North-East and turned professional at local club Sunderland Ladies in 2002 helping them to win promotion from the Northern Division in 2005-6 before signing for Leeds United Ladies in 2007. The transfer was a successful one for Steph who was named the 2008 FA Women’s Young Player of the Year. During her 45 appearances for Leeds she scored 9 goals. In 2010 she also won an FA Women’s Cup medal with Leeds.
Although predominantly a left-sided defender, Steph appeared in a variety of positions for the Lilywhites and her versatility attracted particular interest from Arsenal. She signed for the Gunners in August 2010, appearing 74 times, and scoring eleven goals during her time in North London. She then went on to lift the FA Women's Cup with the club as captain. She joined the Blues on New Year’s Day 2014 in the hope of advancing an already illustrious career.
With City she has won the FA WSL League (Continental) Cup in 2014, 2016, 2019; the FA WSL in 2016; and the FA Women’s Cup 2017 and 2019 as well as receiving the PFA Merit Award in 2019.
She signed a two-year contract extension with City on 24th January 2020
Steph married the former Bolton Wanders defender Stephen Darby on 21st June 2018.
In October 2014 Steph was the first female player on the cover of Shoot magazine.
Steph was named in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list and received an MBE.
2016 saw Steph Houghton became a UEFA women's football development ambassador.
In 2020 Steph took part in the Wheels for Heroes virtual bike race around a 22km “volcanic circuit”. Each celebrity rider set off on the course (via their exercise bikes) to be chased by four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The race raised over £340,000 which will help provide free loan bikes for NHS workers.
Steph has represented her country at every level, totalling more than 100 appearances for England. She suffered serious injuries immediately before the 2007 World Cup and the Euros in 2009. These injuries halted her international career, but she made a full recovery to play in the 2011 World Cup and 2013 Euros and became an integral part of her national team.
She became England Captain in January 2014 under the then coach Mark Sampson.
Representing Team GB at the Olympics, she became a household name by scoring in all three group matches, including the winning goals against New Zealand and Brazil.
In the 2015 World Cup in Canada Steph scored her first World Cup goal against Norway. She was named player of the match in the quarter final game against the hosts Canada which qualified England for their first ever semi-final.
She earned her hundredth international cap in November 11th, 2018 against Sweden at the New York Stadium Rotherham.