England captain Leah Williamson is among four players from the Lionesses’ Euro 2022-winning side recognised in the New Year Honours, as women’s football dominated the list following a groundbreaking year for the game.
Williamson has been made an OBE while teammates Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Ellen White all become MBEs after England won their first major international trophy in 66 years in front of a record 87,000 fans at Wembley this summer.
Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch head coach who led the Lionesses to their 2-1 victory over Germany in the final, has been made a CBE in the overseas list while Wales captain Sophie Ingle and Scotland skipper Kim Little have also received honours.
Elsewhere, Denise Lewis, who won heptathlon gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will receive a damehood while Chris Kamara has been made an MBE. There was a huge outpouring of support for Kamara this year when the former footballer and pundit went public about his apraxia of speech diagnosis.
But it was the Lionesses who led the New Year Honours following their historic victory at the European Championships this summer, adding to the accolades the squad recently received at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. The Lionesses were named Team of the Year, Wiegman Coach of the Year while Mead picked up the main prize after she won the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament awards at the Euros.
Williamson, 25, was named England captain in April but led the team to its first major piece of silverware on home soil in July. The Arsenal defender also pushed for equal access to football for girls in schools and greater support for women’s football.
Bronze is one of England’s most high profile stars after being named as Fifa’s best player in 2020 while White, who retired in August, is the country’s record goalscorer with 52 goals in 112 international appearances. Wiegman took charge of the team last September and finished their year by extending their unbeaten record under the coach to 26 matches.
Football Association chair Debbie Hewitt said: “I would like to congratulate Sarina, Leah, Beth, Ellen and Lucy on behalf of everyone at The FA. We are delighted that their services to football have been recognised in this way.
“They all played a pivotal role on and off the pitch in a historic year for women’s football and their recognition is wholeheartedly deserved. These individual honours are a positive reflection of the whole squad and support team and as this memorable year draws to a close, I would like to voice my thanks and pay tribute to them all.”
Other players from the women’s game being honoured are Wales captain Ingle, who becomes an OBE, and Scotland duo Little and Jen Beattie, both MBEs.
Chelsea midfielder Ingle is another player with over 100 international appearances to her name, and was part of the Great Britain squad at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 alongside Williamson, White and Bronze.
Ingle said: “I am truly honoured to receive this. It is a huge honour for not only myself, but my family and all those involved with the Welsh women’s side who have worked tirelessly to help the platform be where it is today.”
Little was also in that GB squad, joining White in going to a second Olympics nine years on from featuring at the London Games. The Arsenal midfielder has scored 59 goals in 140 Scotland appearances.
Beattie, another Arsenal player, who has played 143 times for Scotland, scoring 24 goals, has been honoured for services to association football and charity.
Includes reporting from PA