Harrogate pays tribute to Lioness Rachel Daly following historic success at Euro 2022

The Lionesses created history on Sunday evening by winning England’s first major international trophy since the men’s team won the World Cup in 1966 in a dramatic Euro 2022 final against eight-time champions Germany at Wembley.

By Lucy Chappell
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 9:51 am
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 9:53 am

Substitute Chloe Kelly poked home a loose ball from a corner to make it 2-1, sending the raucous record crowd of 87,192 into a frenzy with ten minutes of extra time left.

England’s historic win has been hailed as a turning point for women’s football and Harrogate’s very own Rachel Daly, who started her career at Killinghall Nomads Junior Football Club and was a student at Rossett School, played a huge part in this achievement.

The versatile Daly, who plays her club football in the USA with National Women’s Soccer League outfit Houston Dash, has featured in every single game for England at Euro 2022, starting each of her team’s three group matches and then in their quarter-final and semi-final victories, plus Sunday night’s historic triumph.

Rachel Daly, from Harrogate, played a vital role in the Lionesses’ success at Euro 2022, playing in all six of England’s games at the tournament.

After lifting the trophy, captain of the Lionesses Leah Williamson, said: “This is the proudest day of my life.

“The legacy of this tournament is a change in society and we have helped to bring everyone together and we have got people at the games.

“We also want people to come to the Women’s Super League games but the legacy of this team is winners, and it’s just the start of a journey.”

Head coach Sarina Wiegman, who only took over the squad last September, paid tribute as her team were crowned European champions for the first time in history.

Leah Williamson and Millie Bright lift the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 trophy following victory at the competition’s final match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium

She said: “We won the cup, and it is just unbelievable. If you really want to win, really want to become better every single day, you can do it and that is what I have noticed the whole year.

“It was such a tight game with Germany and there was a little bit of fighting, but who cares, we won and we are now the European champions.”

A peak audience of 17.4 million watched the match, making it the most-watched women’s football game on UK television and was also the most-watched programme of the year so far.

Helen Woodcock, who is the current headteacher at Rossett School, the school Rachel attended, said: “Rachel Daly and the rest of the Lionesses have brought a real sense of national achievement and pride to the world of English football.

Rachel Daly and Millie Bright with the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 trophy during the England Women's team celebration at Trafalgar Square on Monday

“We are immensely proud of Rachel; her work ethic, her resilience and her longevity in the game.

“All the Rossett students and staff were shouting themselves hoarse in encouragement and then in celebration as she tackled and defended as part of the amazing team effort against a very strong German side.

“We are hoping to welcome Rachel back to the school soon to help inspire our young women to look at taking their skills a step further, realising a career in the sport at a local, national and international level.”

Rachel Daly celebrating with Ella Toone after scoring England's first goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

Her Majesty the Queen took the time to send a message of congratulations to the Lionesses following their victory.

She said: “My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women’s Football Championships.

“It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff.

“The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise, however, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have all so deservedly earned.

“You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for the future generations.

“It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

Rachel Daly was also a member of Harrogate Railway Athletic Club when she was a youngster and Rich Burns, Harrogate Railway Ladies first team manager, is extremely proud of what her and the team have managed to achieve.

He said: “You could see from such a young age how talented Rachel was and how far she could and ultimately has gone.

“Rachel is still friends with some of my senior team ladies and it was always a pleasure to welcome her back from her scholarship in the USA.

“Even if she only came back for just a few weeks, Rachel would always find the time to come down and train with the Ladies at Station View.

“As a club we are so proud to have spent time with such a talent and wonderful person.

“Rachel absolutely epitomises what you can achieve if you work hard and the whole of Harrogate Railway Ladies could not be prouder of her.

“We had a friendly match just before the game kicked off and the entire Ladies team and their families came upstairs at the club to cheer them on and what an atmosphere it was.

“The legacy they have all created will never be forgotten.”

The Lionesses enjoyed partying into the early hours of Monday morning and attention will now turn to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 where they will be looking to bring it home once again.