Wales’ star Loren Dykes has announced her retirement from professional football after thirteen years of representing the national team.
Dykes won her first senior cap in August 2007, against the Netherlands, and went on to represent her country 105 times, becoming Wales’ second most capped player in a goalless draw against the Czech Republic in April 2019.
Her career began as a pupil at Cwmtawe Community School. She then started playing football for local side Pontardawe Town before representing Llanelli Reds, UWIC and Cardiff City Ladies. During her time at University Dykes also represented the Welsh Universities team.
Her biggest move at club level came in the 2008/09 season when she signed for Bristol City Women, whom she also captained in numerous occasions. Yet, her career went beyond the football pitch.
Off the field, Dykes looked to inspire the stars of the future, with coaching roles for the Wales U15s and the Bristol City senior team in the WSL. As well as coaching, she became an ambassador for Street Football Wales, a social inclusion charity that delivers football to socially excluded individuals throughout Wales.
As part of her role, Dykes was an ambassador for the 2019 Homeless World Cup held in Cardiff in July. She was also awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to women’s football in Wales.
“I have decided that now is the right time to announce my official retirement from football,” she said to the press.
“[Now] I want to fully focus my energy on my development as a coach, with responsibilities at both club and youth national level as I work towards the completion of my UEFA A coaching licence.
“Playing for my country has been the greatest honour I could have ever wished for and has given me memories that I will cherish for life. I now look forward to helping to continue the growth of the game in Wales and help inspire future players in a coaching capacity.
“I would like to thank my family, teammates, coaches and staff for everything they have done for me.
“None of this would have been possible without them. I now look forward to what the future holds,” she concluded.