Rafferty made the announcement on Twitter “Having thought long and hard about my decision, I have taken the choice to retire at the end of the season. It has not been an easy decision to make; I love playing football and it will be strange to not do this every day after this weekend, but I feel this is the right time for me to move into the next stage of my life.
“Helping West Ham get to their first ever FA Cup Final was an honour, and what a way to sign off my career. I’ve been fortunate enough to win two doubles in an eleven-year spell with Chelsea, make over 100 league appearances in the WSL and also represent my country. I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank every player, coach, member of staff and supporter I’ve had the honour of working with during my career.”
Rafferty was unable to finish her career with an FA Cup victory in last weekend’s final against Manchester City at Wembley but can be immensely proud of what she has achieved over her career. While at Chelsea she picked up two Super League trophies and two FA cup titles between 2015 and 2018. She was also part of the Great Britain women’s side that participated at the 2012 London Olympics.
Head coach Matt Beard told the West Ham United website: “Claire is a player who I have gotten to know well over the years and she has proven herself to not only be a great professional but a model ambassador for the women’s game. She has been a privilege to work with, both at West Ham and at Chelsea, and I wish her every success away from football.”
Rafferty will be joined by midfielder Lucienne Reichardt in retiring at the end of the season, with Saturday’s match against Brighton and Hove Albion at Rush Green stadium on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are available via whufc.com/tickets.