WSL Hall of Fame: League celebrates legacies of successful English trio

Breaking records, being role models and dedicating almost two decades to football are some of the reasons why three of England's most successful players were inducted into the Women's Super League Hall of Fame on Monday.

Anita Asante, Ellen White and Jill Scott's careers have had a lasting impact on many, but their journeys have been very different.

Receiving their awards in front of friends and family at a special event in Manchester, hosted by the Football Association (FA), they reflected on their careers - the ups and downs and what has changed since they retired.

'I've never taken this role lightly'

Anita Asante coaching with the England under-23s
Anita Asante is now coaching at Bristol City in the Women's Super League and with England's under-23s

Asante, who earned 71 England caps, won five English league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal during a glittering career.

Her achievements on the pitch can be demonstrated by silverware, but Asante's willingness to campaign off it for equal opportunities, diversity and professionalisation have been widely applauded.

Finding a love for football on London street courts, Asante said she wanted to "represent" that community and inspire other black women, who are currently underrepresented in the senior England national team.

"I've credited football and the opportunities I've had - and what it's given me," said Asante. "It's given me a voice and a platform to use it. I've always wanted that for other young players out there.

"I want them to feel they have impact beyond what's on the pitch. I want them to feel like they add value to the game in a number of ways. Hopefully I've gone some measure to do that.

"Young girls - especially girls of colour - can think 'I can do that, I can play on the world stage, win trophies and impact the game in the future'.

"It's about being a visible role model. I've never taken this role lightly. It comes with responsibility."

'We're hopefully changing societal sexism'

Ellen White with the Euro 2022 trophy
Ellen White won Euro 2022 with England in her final match before retiring last summer

White was part of the Lionesses squad that won Euro 2022 and she retired as their record goalscorer, with 52 goals in 113 appearances, in August that year.

Before breaking the record, White's name was often not mentioned alongside the men in England's all-time goalscoring lists. Now she is recognised alongside the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Wayne Rooney.

"That's really special. It shows that societal change is happening and that's important," said White.

"I feel very lucky to be among them. Some of those names are ridiculous. Now that I have retired, it's been really nice to look back.

"I'm not going to sit there and say 'Hi, I'm Ellen White, England's record goalscorer', but I feel very proud."

White also made 144 WSL appearances with Arsenal, Notts County, Birmingham City and Manchester City, scoring 61 league goals - formerly a record - before her retirement.

She has seen changes in attitudes towards female footballers during her career and believes "it is moving in the right direction".

"We're hopefully changing societal sexism. It's still got a long way to go - we're still trying to smash down doors, aren't we?" she added.

"But it is moving in the right direction. It's all about that visibility. It's going in an incredible trajectory."

'I've dedicated my life to it'

Jill Scott wearing a pundit's earpiece
Jill Scott has moved into punditry since retiring and also won I'm a Celebrity on ITV

Scott was also part of the England squad that won Euro 2022, having played 175 matches in the WSL before announcing her retirement that summer.

Her career, which spanned almost two decades, coincided with the professionalisation of the WSL, and Scott was one of several players who juggled football and part-time jobs before that.

She was able to experience playing in major stadiums in front of record crowds and won the Women's FA Cup at Wembley later in her career - but Scott enjoyed the early days just as much.

"Whenever I meet up with old players, we don't really talk about specific games. We speak about the moments and the memories and the laughs and everything else," said Scott.

"The WSL has been such a big part of my life. I've dedicated my life to it. Getting a result on a weekend was literally everything.

"It's just nice to know that those memories are instilled in people. That's why I always say to the girls, 'make sure you enjoy this journey. Because before you know it, you're in the Hall of Fame!' I'm just really, really honoured."

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