Manchester United goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain has left the club, agreeing to end her contract by mutual consent just over a year after she helped United win promotion to the Women’s Super League.
Chamberlain, 36, made 27 appearances for the club before giving birth to daughter Emilia in January this year. The former England player was part of the Lionesses squad that won bronze at the World Cup in Canada in 2015.
Manchester United head coach Casey Stoney said that she wanted to “thank Siobhan for her time with us”, adding: “Aside from her obvious goalkeeping abilities, she has been an incredible leader and role model within the team, and a fantastic mentor to the talented young goalkeepers we have at United. On a personal level, I have played with Siobhan for a number of years at various clubs and also with the national team. We’ve shared so many experiences together and I consider her a friend.
“As a head coach, it’s my job to evolve the squad each year. After discussions with Siobhan on our plan to give our younger goalkeepers more first-team experience, it was agreed by both parties that now was the right time for Siobhan to move on and pursue her career elsewhere. On behalf of everyone at the club, I wish her the best of luck for the future.”
Reflecting on her departure, Chamberlain published a blog post on her website on Wednesday morning, writing that former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has been her “idol” growing up as a Fulham fan. When Van der Sar left Fulham for United in 2005, England was preparing to host the Women’s Euros and was still six years from the launch of the Women’s Super League.
“If you had said to me back then, that 13 years later I would’ve had the opportunity to follow in my idol’s footsteps and sign for Manchester United, in the club’s first professional season, I would’ve said you were dreaming or mad. Probably both,” Chamberlain wrote.
"In 2005, professional women’s football in England was unthinkable [...] So fast-forward to 2018 and I am presented with the opportunity to become Manchester United’s first ever professional No 1, it’s hard to explain how incredibly grateful I felt.
“I had experienced established clubs in the WSL playing at being professional, but from day one of joining United, it was clear this club wasn’t playing. This was professional women’s football, supported and funded. Dreams can come true.”