Cardiff City treble-winning captain Siobhan Walsh announces retirement

Cardiff City have announced the retirement of club captain Siobhan Walsh, after more than a decade at the club.

It’s hard to think of a player who has had a bigger impact on the Bluebirds than Walsh. Having joined in 2011 as a 17-year-old, the defender became captain before the age of 21; a role she held until her retirement at the age of 29.

“I’ve been playing football for a long time, since I was six years old,” Walsh said. “It’s not as if I’m a youngster anymore. I feel now is the right time for me, simply because I now have a lot more commitments outside of football so I don’t feel I can fully commit my time to the football club.

“I’ve grown as a person through the football club and it’s helped me massively. It’s been quite a ride.”

There are two aspects that we can look at when it comes to Walsh. Firstly, there’s the player, and there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the impact she has had not only at Cardiff City Stadium, but on Welsh football as a whole. She was an imposing figure at the heart of the defence. Just when a forward thinks they’re through on goal, a flash of blue would run past and put in a tough, but always fair, tackle and steal the ball away. That was Walsh’s trademark style.

Defenders also aren’t known for scoring goals, but Walsh was a constant threat to goalkeepers across the country. Often getting on the end of crosses from the likes of Ffion Price and Seren Watkins, the captain would produce bullet header after bullet header. 19 goals in all competitions over the past two seasons is a stellar return.

For all the “typical” defender traits, there was more to Walsh’s game than that. The way she would stride out of defence with the ball calmed the team down each time. Walsh would come out with a purpose and would always find a teammate with either a threaded through ball or a searching cross-field one. Her talents on the pitch knew no bounds.

The other aspect to Walsh is off the pitch. There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to leading a side, especially when you’re handed the armband at the age of 20, but the Bluebird was a leader on and off the pitch. Especially as City have transitioned in recent years to a young squad, Walsh has been a figure those players can go to for advice and anything else they may need.

While there was a strong young core at the club, there were also plenty of experienced players who have been with Walsh since the beginning. Danielle Broadhurst, Danielle Green, and Hannah Power were part of the team alongside Walsh that first won the Welsh league in 2013 and have shared so many experiences together.

But maybe the most special relationship of all is the one with her sister Catherine. Together they won countless trophies, and also appeared on the European stage. In interviews in the past, Siobhan described Catherine as her best friend, and that she couldn’t imagine playing without her. The bond between them is beyond strong.

It’s fitting that, in what proved to be her final season, Walsh led this Cardiff City side to their first ever treble. The images of her lifting the Genero Adran Premier, Genero Adran Trophy and Bute Energy Welsh Cup epitomise what she was all about. You only need to read the words from her manager and teammates to realise the impact Walsh has had on the club.

The story of the Genero Adran Premier cannot be written without Siobhan Walsh. Someone who was more than a player and more than a captain. Walsh will be such a big miss to Cardiff City and the league, but what an awe-inspiring career she’s had.

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