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Meet the ambassador!

  Expect trayfuls of Ferrero Rocher chocolates when you next visit Kingsmeadow... Chelsea Ladies captain Katie Chapman has announced her retirement, and is becoming one of the club's most high-profile ambassadors. Despite apparently wavering about whether to hang up her boots following the Chelsea Ladies' Women's FA Cup triumph at Wembley, when Katie picked up

 

Expect trayfuls of Ferrero Rocher chocolates when you next visit Kingsmeadow… Chelsea Ladies captain Katie Chapman has announced her retirement, and is becoming one of the club’s most high-profile ambassadors.

Despite apparently wavering about whether to hang up her boots following the Chelsea Ladies’ Women’s FA Cup triumph at Wembley, when Katie picked up her 10th trophy in a glittering career stretching back more than two decades, she told the press after a 2-1 victory over Sunderland that she had finally made up her mind.

She will start her new role at the club, mentoring young talent and supporting assistant manager Paul Green during Emma Hayes’ maternity leave, in August, having had a long and well-deserved rest with her young family over the summer.

“I’m going to become a global ambassador for the club,” she told The Good Life. “I’ve never really been interested in coaching, but I’m going to be mentoring the girls.”

Katie’s new role will be fully explored at the end of the season, but she’s focused first and foremost on achieving the single point needed to clinch the league title for the team she has captained so well through this demanding season.

“It’s going to be hard work, and now I’m ready for a break,” added the 35-year-old mother-of-three, before revealing that one of her goals was to run the London Marathon, although she’s suspending any thoughts of a rigorous training programme until after the summer.

“I’d definitely like to do the London Marathon at some point, but I need a break and I want to spend more time with my kids. They’re proud of me, my kids, and I want to be there to watch them play.”

She said she had been shocked by the warmth and extent of the outpouring of good wishes ahead of her last Kingsmeadow game wearing the captain’s armband – a match which saw player cards, posters, clappers and other memorabilia celebrating her time as a footballer distributed to fans, 1,940 of whom were present to see her last outing at home, and give her a standing ovation when she was subbed in the second half.

“It’s emotional; the last home game in front of my friends,” she said, after being given a guard of honour by both sets of players ahead of the match – played in incessant rain.

“It’s hard, but we have to transition, and now it’s time to retire,” she added. “Some players leave and new ones come through; look at all the young talent coming through at Chelsea!”

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