With four days to go until Chelsea begin the defence of our Women’s Super League title against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge, we profile the long-serving and formidable Millie Bright who has been at the heart of the success we have enjoyed in recent years.
Name: Millie Bright
National Team: England
Place of Birth: Chesterfield, England
DOB: 21 August, 1993 (age 30)
Height: 1.75m (5 ft 9 in)
Bright signed for Chelsea from Doncaster Rovers Belles back in 2014, where she worked with general manager Paul Green. By the end of her first campaign, she had won both the WSL and Women’s FA Cup, featuring in 26 of a possible 28 fixtures and making her debut in the Champions League.
Our central defender started more matches than any other player in her second campaign, excelling in a number of different roles. Her form was recognised by her peers as she was voted the Chelsea Players’ Player of the Year to go along with the Young Player of the Year award she retained.
A new three-and-a-half year contract followed at the start of 2017 and it was just the beginning of an excellent year for Bright. She was a near-permanent fixture in the side as we conceded only five goals in all competitions by the end of the 2017 Spring Series, while scoring twice herself.
Her 33 starts in all competitions during the 2017/18 campaign were more than any other Blue. Bright’s form was recognised as she was one of five Blues nominated for the PFA Women’s Player of the Year award, won by team-mate Fran Kirby, and secured a spot in the Team of the Year.
In 2018/19, a campaign which began with a new long-term contract, the defender had another exceptionally strong season for club and country. She was named vice-captain behind Karen Carney and only three players started more Chelsea games than her.
Bright retained the vice-captaincy for the 2019/20 season as Magdalena Eriksson took the armband. She won her first Continental League Cup final in a Covid-curtailed season, which saw us win the WSL once more and Bright was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the second time.
Ahead of 2020/21, Bright committed her long-term future to Chelsea by signing a contract extension. She scored in the Community Shield win over Manchester City and was central to us defending our WSL and League Cup trophies. We reached our maiden Champions League final and Bright was named in the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World 11.
Another trophy-laden season followed in which Bright started every one of our 39 fixtures. During this campaign, she reached a hugely impressive milestone of 200 appearances for the club. She retained her place in the FIFPro selection for a second straight year and was chosen in the PFA Team of the Year for the third time, having won two FA Cups and a WSL title.
During our Double-winning season last time out, Bright’s participation was cruelly ended by an injury sustained during a Champions League quarter-final first-leg victory away to Lyon. Her experience and leadership behind the scenes were crucial as we claimed a fourth-straight WSL and third-consecutive FA Cup triumph.
Having shone at Under-23s level for England and captained the side, full international recognition came in the autumn of 2016 when Bright was awarded her first cap for the Lionesses in a victory over Belgium in September. Two months later, she was named England Young Player of the Year.
She started every game during England’s run to the semi-finals at the 2017 European Championship. Two years later, she played five of the seven games at the 2019 World Cup as England once again reached the last four.
The centre-back also represented Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and a few months later, she scored her first England goals in a thumping 10-0 win over Luxembourg. It was also a year in which she captained her country for the first time.
Bright helped England lift the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup in 2022, winning the Golden Boot at the tournament. This was followed by the historic European Championship triumph at Wembley and most recently, she captained the Lionesses to a second-place finish at the World Cup this summer.
Click here to secure your seats for the Blues opening WSL fixture against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge this Sunday 1 October, with kick-off at 5.30pm (UK time).