City and England captain Steph Houghton made her 100th appearance for the Club on Sunday. The centre-back recalls the moments that shaped her time in football…
1 When I first kicked a ball…
“I can always remember kicking a ball about in the yard with my dad.
"Ever since I could walk, I have always had a ball at my feet - whether it was at school, at home playing with my mates and family.
"So being in the backyard is my first real memory of football.”
2 Playing my very first match...
“My first proper game was for my school team.
"I was the only girl that played and I was really nervous! I didn’t expect to start and neither did my parents.
"I loved every minute of it and even managed to score a couple! It was just the start I needed to get me on my journey, I suppose.”
3 Joining my first club, Sunderland...
“During the school holidays, I always loved going to Sunderland Soccer Schools over two days.
"Most of my friends went and loved every minute, playing games and learning new skills.
"Then, one time I remember being voted Player of the Camp and in turn, I was scouted for the Sunderland Centre of Excellence.
"That was a dream come true to play for a club that I'd supported since I started kicking a football.”
4 Positional switch...
"When I first joined up with England, we always played 4-4-2 and I was always a striker.
"We changed formation to 4-3-3 and Mo Marley saw me as a right-sided striker of the three. Then by chance, we had a few players injured and she asked me to play at right-back, although I'd never played there in my life!
"I played quite well and she saw a little bit of something in me that no-one else had seen. From then on, I played at right-back, centre-back, left-back and centre midfield!
"I made my England debut as a right-back and for me, it was the best decision any coach has ever made for me - to move my position - because I would never have been able to play at the level I am playing at as a striker."
5 Making my senior England debut...
“This is definitely one of the highlights of my career. I was 17 and all I'd ever wanted to do was to play for England!
"I was in a squad with people like Kelly Smith, Faye White and Rachel Yankey, learning new things every day – I was literally living the dream!
"To have made my debut in front of my family was amazing and I got a taste of playing at the highest level, which I loved and wanted more of.”
6 Being handed the England captain's armband...
“Playing for England is the ultimate honour and I love it but to have been handed the armband was firstly a huge surprise – I was overwhelmed but so delighted.
"I don’t think I took the conversation in at all but I was straight on the phone to my family because it meant as much to the people that have supported me through my career to know that I would be captain of my country!
"It drives me on to be the best leader I can be, playing my football and enjoying it as much as I can.”
7 Signing for City...
“I was delighted to be joining such a huge Club.
"It was an opportunity to play professionally, improve myself in every aspect of the game with such fantastic facilities and in front of or amazing fans.
"I knew I was joining something special. I also knew I wanted to be here for the start of the journey that we have been on and I have seen the Club grow and grow every season.
"We are really paving the way for women’s football in this country and that's something I’m really proud to be a part of.”
8 Winning the league title with City...
“What an amazing day! We were unbelievable that season. To have gone a whole league season unbeaten and to have played the way we did was a credit to all the girls and staff!
"We had a real togetherness and grit and a determination to find a way to win.
"To have been able win it in front a record crowd at the Academy Stadium made it even more special.”