With an appearance against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Sophie Ingle holds the Barclays Women’s Super League all-time appearance record with 184 games to her name.
Having first joined the club back in 2012, Ingle went on to represent Bristol City and Liverpool before returning to Chelsea ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, where she has enjoyed plenty of success on the domestic front.
Last year, our Welsh midfielder was awarded an OBE for her contributions to football and role as Wales captain. News of the award came shortly after Ingle had signed a contract extension until the summer of 2025.
Although milestones are significant to some, footballers are often blissfully unaware of such statistics and Ingle is no different. Ever the professional, the 32-year-old is primarily motivated to win as a collective rather than focusing on individual recognition.
‘Last year, Barclays put something on Instagram about top 10 appearances at the time. There was Jill Scott, Steph Houghton, Millie (Bright), myself and a few other players.
‘I knew I was in the top 10. You just turn up and play games, it’s not something I focus on individually. We’re in a team environment and we’re trying to win trophies for this club.
‘I didn’t realise until last week!’
Days, months and years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice have made Ingle the player she is today. Reaching this milestone is testament to the character, resilience and determination she has shown to build the successful career she has enjoyed.
‘It’s more about realising how far I’ve come, the commitment I’ve put in over the years and the hard work it has taken. It’s not easy to get to these type of records. It’s more an appreciation that I’ve worked hard over the years.
‘It’s been tough and all the support off the pitch I get from my family and friends to help me reach that because if you don’t have that support system, it’s even harder.
‘There are ups and downs throughout your career, but to consistently play for the clubs I’ve played for and to get the game time I have over the years is something I’m really honoured to achieve.’
Another landmark is on the horizon with Ingle nearing 200 appearances in a Chelsea shirt. There isn’t much time to reflect in a culture driven by success and Ingle believes she may only realise the size of her achievements once her playing days come to an end.
‘As the person I am, I will probably reflect after my career. At a club like Chelsea, you win one trophy and you are onto the next. You don’t always get the chance to appreciate it at the time and all the hard work that comes with winning a trophy.
‘We’re involved in a lot of trophies each season and it’s always about the next one, the season finishes, you have a little break and go again.
‘It’s always a quick turnaround so I don’t think I will truly realise until I sit down at the end of my career and see what I’ve achieved over the years.’