This year’s Soccer Aid for UNICEF is set to showcase more female representation than ever before.
The 2022 celebrity charity match will mark the event’s 11th edition and will be held at West Ham’s London Stadium for the first time.
As well as providing an entertaining match featuring some of the largest household names, important funds will be raised for some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.
Soccer Aid for UNICEF has been a huge platform for the representation of women in football for several years now. Former England internationals Rachel Yankey and Katie Chapman were the first female legends to be included in the lineup in 2019.
After the two Lionesses set the benchmark, they opened the door for more inspirational women to get involved.
Kelly Smith, Lianne Sanderson and Fara Williams made their Soccer Aid for UNICEF debuts during 2020 and 2021 respectively. Former Arsenal and England star Alex Scott also joined the team as a presenter last year, joining fellow broadcaster and DJ Maya Jama.
This year will include eight female celebrities and former players across both playing and coaching roles. Here is the full list of women who will feature for Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022.
Williams will return to the lineup for England this year after making her debut in 2021. The ex-midfielder is her country’s most capped ever player, male or female, with an unrivalled 172.
She will be joined by compatriots Eniola Aluko and Anita Asante — all three women have represented both the Lionesses and Great Britain on the international stage.
Aluko enjoyed a decorated career with Chelsea, winning three Women’s Super League titles and two FA Cups. Asante was part of the historic Arsenal team that won the unprecedented quadruple back in 2007.
Asante retired at the end of the 2021/22 season and laughed that she had already signed herself up for another outing on the football pitch.
“I thought I was retiring but then I was like ‘nope, I’ve got one more game to boot up for,’” she told GiveMeSport Women.
As well as the talented former professionals who will be lacing up their boots, Soccer Aid for UNICEF has announced two female members of coaching staff.
Emma Hayes will spearhead the England team as assistant manager, alongside Harry Redknapp. The Chelsea manager is regarded as one of the best in the women’s game, having won five WSL titles, four FA Cups, and three League Cups with the Blues since 2012.
Actress Vicky McClure is the final name on the England roster. The Line of Duty star will take on the role of coach and work with former goalkeeper David Seaman.
Singer-songwriter and presenter Chelcee Grimes will make her third Soccer Aid for UNICEF appearance this summer.
Grimes also plays football for her local team Merseyrail Ladies, so already knows a thing or two about navigating her way around a pitch.
She told GiveMeSport Women that her aim for this year is to become the first woman in history to score on the Soccer Aid for UNICEF stage.
Joining Grimes in the World XI are two debutants in Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly. The American duo have both been a part of the US national team’s success in both the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
The two also spent some time in England during their careers, with Lloyd playing for Manchester City and O’Reilly enjoying a stint at Arsenal. Both players won silverware with their respective English teams.
England and the World XI are currently tied on five wins each — who will inch ahead this year at Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022?
Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 takes place on Sunday 12th June at the London Stadium. A family of four can attend the game for just £60 – buy your tickets at socceraid.org.uk/tickets