Its that time of year again, and in Women’s football, it’s the worst time of year.
Liverpool FC Women announced on Thursday the departure of six players this summer, in addition to previously announced Rylee Foster. Megan Campbell, Leighanne Robe, Rhiannon Roberts, Charlotte Clark, Carla Humphrey, and record appearance holder Ashley Hodson have all been confirmed as departing the club at the expiration of their contracts.
Many of these players were instrumental in last season’s campaign that saw the club return to the FA WSL. Rhiannon Roberts and Leighanne Robe both joined in 2018, with Robe’s physical style of defensive play quickly becoming one of the best things to watch, and Roberts’ versatility across the pitch making her a dependable utility midfielder.
Megan Campbell joined in 2021 and is best well known for her incredible throw in talents, but it was her presence in defense and FA WSL experience that made her so vital to the campaigns before and after promotion. Carla Humphrey also joined in 2021 and while her time with the was mostly plagued by injury, she was able to play a part in the campaign that saw the Reds promoted.
Charlotte Clarke joined the goalkeepers in 2021 and though competition was fierce, she was able to save a penalty on her debut and learned from watching Rachael Laws before spending the last season on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion.
And then there’s Ashley Hodson.
Hodson, Liverpool Women’s longest serving player, is an Academy graduate, making her senior debut in 2014. She holds the club record for appearances - that she broke in 2021, overtaking Gemma Bonner - and has seen it all. She won the FA WSL with the squad in her first season, and stuck with the Reds as they were relegated to the Championship, and then again promoted to the FA WSL. While she has spent the past season on loan at Birmingham City Women, she was able to return to Liverpool to train during the week, giving hopes that she would remain with the team regardless of the loan. She has worn the captain’s armband and despite injuries, has been one of the most consistent players on the squad.
(Hodson is the only Women’s player this writer ever got on the back on her Women’s team shirts, when she could get them).
“I know our fans will join me in wishing all the players moving on the very best of luck in the future. It is a natural part of football for squads to evolve and change but we will be following their future progress with great interest,” manager Matt Beard said of the departures on Thursday.
“I’m pleased we have a final game on Saturday for the supporters to pay tribute to their work both in matches, on the training pitch and as part of the group.”
Here’s hoping Ashley Hodson can come and get the send off she deserves.