With over 140 caps for England under her belt, and a former captain for both England’s Lionesses and Chelsea Ladies FC, Karen Carney definitely has a knack for reaching her goals. Her expertise and experience playing at the highest level of women’s football at both Champions League and National levels – including four World Cups and four European Championships – make her an entertaining and motivational speaker.
Since she announced her retirement from football in 2019, Karen has become a much sought-after sporting broadcaster for the likes of the BBC and BT Sport.
Sadly, Karen has been subject to a high level of abuse online, leaving her feeling suicidal. She has used her own experience with depression, and other mental health struggles to inspire audiences around the country.
Karen Carney made her senior debut for England against Italy in 2005, aged 17. Her success soon grew when she became an integral part of the team at the UEFA Women’s Euro later that year, scoring a last-minute, game-winning goal against Finland.
Her fantastic track record performing for England resulted in her receiving her 100th cap in 2014, becoming only the fourth English woman at the time to reach the milestone. She also represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympic games. Her skills weren’t just seen in the UK; she took her skills stateside and played a season with the Chicago Red Stars.
As well as being a key Lioness, Karen has also played for Arsenal FC, Birmingham City FC (becoming the first woman to be inducted into their hall of fame), and Chelsea Ladies FC. In 2017 she received an MBE for services to the sport, and in 2021 was inducted into the National Football Museum hall of fame.
Since retiring, she has become a popular face on our TV screens as a commentator, presenter and football pundit. She is the lead female analyst and pundit for both men’s and women’s football on Sky Sports, and has also fronted the sport for ITV – recently seen fronting the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar – the BBC, CBS and BT Sport. Her own footballing story saw her be the subject of the documentary A Day in the Life: Karen Carney (2014) for BT Sports.
Her love for the sport has seen her team up with MP Nadine Dorries as the chair of their Future of Women’s Football Review. The aim is to look at how the women’s game can grow at an elite level, focusing on salary, sustainability, financial security and opportunities.
With the popularity of women’s football growing thanks to the Lioness’ Euro win in 2022, we are hearing more and more of the difficulties female players face. Sadly, this abuse is not new, with Karen herself experiencing sexist abuse, rape and death threats throughout her playing and punditry career.
Whilst her footballing career went from strength to strength, her achievements risked being overshadowed by her mental health. She often used football to escape, keeping her afloat whilst her mother was sick. Unfortunately, when her mother got sick again, Karen was injured and didn’t have the sport to help her; this would turn out to be the catalyst for a spiralling in bad mental wellbeing. The abuse she would go on to receive on social media left her depressed and feeling suicidal. It was so relentless that Karen deleted her Twitter account, keeping only her Instagram account to update her 96,000 followers on her work in the sport. She has since made it a priority to show the importance of stricter social media guidelines.
Her mental health struggles helped make her decision to retire from the sport. “I gave up my professional career because of my mental health. It was either stay there and maybe not be here today, more broadly, if I’m being totally honest, or come home.”
As difficult as this period was for her, Karen used it to start a refresh. Whilst in rehab for her injury, she gained a Master’s in psychology to learn more about her behaviours.
– Football Success
– International Football
– Premier Football
– Women’s Football
– Diversity and Inclusion
– Mental Health/Depression
– Social Media and Online Abuse
Karen is the perfect choice for corporate events, providing insight into elite football and giving honest accounts of her mental health and wellbeing struggles. She aims to inspire the next generation of young girls to fulfil their dreams.