England legends Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey were on hand to welcome the official FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour to Brighton.
The most coveted prize in women’s football is travelling across the globe visiting all 24 countries that will compete in the final tournament, which runs from 7 June to 7 July.
It set off from Paris on 24 February and the latest stop was at Brighton’s historic Royal Pavilion on Tuesday 23 April.
Coinciding with St. George’s Day, Brighton was chosen to welcome the trophy as the city will play host to the Lionesses’ World Cup send-off match against New Zealand on Saturday 1 June.
Tickets are still available at just £1 for children and £10 for adults. For more information, visit TheFA.com/LionessesTickets.
England head coach Phil Neville said: “Excitement for the World Cup is definitely growing the closer we get to the finals and I can’t wait to bring the squad to Brighton for our send-off game before we head to France. We know we will get brilliant support from fans in the area and my players will be determined to put on a great show in our farewell match. Thank you in advance to everyone who has bought tickets to see us play.”
Children from the local Balfour Primary School who are part of the Brighton and Hove Girls’ Football School Partnership were invited to take part in the event, having photographs with the trophy before taking part in a special SSE Wildcats coaching session.
SSE Wildcats is The FA’s participation initiative, created to provide girls aged 5-11 with the opportunity to give football a try, welcoming over 20,000 participants across the country. 1,400 centres will be open across England this summer.
Designed by William Sawaya and hand-crafted by Milanese specialists Sawaya & Moroni in 1998 in time for the 1999 tournament, the trophy, standing at 47cm and weighing 4.6kg, captures the athleticism, dynamism and elegance of international women’s football. Fitted with a modern, cone-shaped base that reinforces the uplifting spirit of the design, the trophy stretches skywards in the form of a spiral band, enclosing a football at the top. The trophy is made of bronze gold-plated, polished aluminium and Verde Candeias Granite. Engraved underneath its base are the names of each of the previous winners of the Women’s World Cup, cementing their place in Women’s World Cup history.
· 24 February: Kick-Off in Paris, France
· 3 March: Montego Bay, Jamaica
· 7 March: Santiago, Chile
· 9 March: Buenos Aires, Argentina
· 11 March: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
· 13 March: Miami, USA
· 15 March: San Francisco, USA
· 18 March: Los Angeles, USA
· 22 March: Seoul, Republic of Korea
· 24 March: Tokyo, Japan
· 27 March: Shanghai, China
· 29 March: Bangkok, Thailand
· 31 March: Sydney, Australia
· 4 April: Auckland, New Zealand
· 6 April: Stockholm, Sweden
· 7 April: Durban, South Africa
· 9 April: Yaounde, Cameroon
· 11 April: Abuja, Nigeria
· 13 April: Oslo, Norway
· 14 April: Dortmund, Germany
· 15 April: Coverciano, Italy
· 23 April: Brighton, England
· 25 April: Edinburgh, Scotland
· 27 April: The Netherlands
· 29 April: Madrid, Spain
· 30 April: Toronto, Canada
· 2 May: Paris, France
England’s record goalscorer of all time with 46 goals, Kelly Smith was capped 117 times by her country across 20 years representing the national team. As well as playing in the Lionesses team that reached the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals, she also took part in the 2012 Olympics for Team GB. At club level she was most associated with Arsenal, where she won the league four times and the FA Women’s Cup on three occasions, as well as the UEFA Women’s Cup in 2006/07.
Having amassed 129 caps and 19 goals for England, Rachel Yankey is one of the nation’s greatest ever players. With Arsenal, she won six league titles, nine FA Women’s Cups and helped the London club to the European title in 2006/07. She represented England at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, scoring in the latter as the Lionesses reached the quarter-finals and was also part of the 2012 Team GB squad at the London Olympics. Since retiring, she became first-team manager at London Bees.
Courtesy of The FA