Claire Lauren Rafferty (born 11 January 1989) is an English pundit and retired professional footballer. She made over 100 appearances as a left back or left winger for Chelsea in the FA WSL and also spent time at Millwall Lionesses and West Ham United. Rafferty also represented England internationally and played at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain.

Claire Rafferty
Rafferty with West Ham United in 2018
Personal information
Full name Claire Lauren Rafferty[1]
Date of birth (1989-01-11) 11 January 1989 (age 35)[1]
Place of birth Orpington, London, England
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.64 m)[1]
Position(s) Left back/Left winger
Youth career
Kent Magpies
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2007 Millwall Lionesses
2007–2018 Chelsea 101 (12)
2018–2019 West Ham United 13 (1)
International career
2008 England U19 7 (0)
2010 England U23 3 (1)
2010–2017 England 18 (0)
2012 Great Britain 1 (0)
Medal record
Women's football
Representing  England
FIFA Women's World Cup
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Canada
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 28 May 2019[2][3]
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 14 June 2017

Club career

Rafferty with Chelsea in 2014

Rafferty became a first team regular with Millwall Lionesses as a 14-year-old.[4] After recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury,[4] she signed for Chelsea Ladies in 2007[5] and became a regular on the left of midfield.[6]

In August 2011 Rafferty suffered another ACL injury.[7] She returned to the Chelsea team as a substitute in their televised 2012 FA WSL opening game against Doncaster Rovers Belles. Earlier in April 2012 Rafferty had been appointed as one of eight digital media ambassadors, one from each team, who wear their Twitter account name on their sleeves to raise the profile of the WSL.[8]

In 2014 Rafferty helped Chelsea to second place in the FAWSL. There was a dramatic final day of the season which saw Chelsea narrowly missing out on the title by one goal difference.[9]

Rafferty left Chelsea Ladies at the end of the 2017–18 season. In June 2018, she joined West Ham United Ladies.[10][11] She retired at the end of the 2018–19 season.[12]

International career




Rafferty was involved with England at U15 development, U17, U19, U20 and U23 level.[13] She had been called into the U19 squad at the age of 15.[4] Her full debut came on 25 March 2010 against Austria.[13]

In June 2011 Rafferty was named in the 21–player squad for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. At the quarter-final stage of the competition against France, she was substituted on for regular left back Rachel Unitt in the 81st minute, to make her World Cup debut. England coach Hope Powell considered Rafferty better equipped to cope with the pace of Élodie Thomis.[14]

When the match finished 1–1 after extra-time, Rafferty missed England's fourth penalty in the shootout, sending her spot kick wide of the post.[14] Although England were knocked out when Faye White also missed, Hope Powell praised Rafferty for stepping forward when other, more experienced team mates were exhibiting "cowardice."[15]

Rafferty's international career has been plagued with injury having ruptured her ACL three times, most recently in 2013. After overcoming this for the third time Rafferty was recalled to the England squad in late 2014 for the friendly against Germany at Wembley Stadium.[16] Rafferty made her first England appearance in two and a half years in March 2015 as England won the Cyprus Cup.[17] Rafferty was selected for the 2015 World Cup and was first choice left-back as England reached the semi-finals and achieved third-place. Rafferty was unfortunate to concede a penalty in the semi-final against Japan for a push which was outside the box.[18][19][20]

Rafferty was allotted 175 when the FA announced their legacy numbers scheme to honour the 50th anniversary of England’s inaugural international.[21][22]

Great Britain Olympic


In June 2012 Rafferty was named in the 18–player Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics.[23]



Rafferty now makes regular media appearances. In the summer immediately following her retirement, Rafferty made numerous television and radio appearances as a pundit during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.[24][25]

In July 2019, Rafferty returned to Chelsea in a commercial role. Chelsea Commercial Director, Chris Townsend OBE commented on Rafferty's "extensive experience in elite-level sport combined with her business and analytical skills accumulated working at an investment bank" which made her an important asset to the club.[26]

Personal life


She studied economics at Loughborough University, and graduated in 2011.[27] As well as her football commitments she is a part-time Analyst at Deutsche Bank.[28] During the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, Rafferty was named 43rd in the ZOO Magazine "Hot 101" issue.[29]

Rafferty married her partner Erica Cleary in May 2023.[30]









  1. ^ a b c "FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015: List of players: England" (PDF). FIFA. 6 July 2015. p. 10. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Claire Rafferty". The FA. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Claire Rafferty". Soccer Way. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Congratulations Claire". Millwall FC. 29 November 2004. Archived from the original on 26 June 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  5. ^ "Chelsea Ladies Start Season". Chelsea FC. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Claire Rafferty". Chelsea FC. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Injured Kelly Smith missing from England squad". BBC Sport. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Women's Super League launches Twitter kit initiative to raise profile". BBC Sport. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Liverpool Ladies pip Chelsea to WSL title on dramatic final day". BBC Sport. 12 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Claire Rafferty: West Ham United sign England left-back". BBC Sport. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  11. ^ "FA Cup: How I prepare for a big game". BBC News. 4 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Claire Rafferty to retire at the end of the season | West Ham United".
  13. ^ a b "Claire Rafferty". Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  14. ^ a b Chris Bevan (9 July 2011). "Women's World Cup: England 1–1 France (France win 4–3 on pens)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  15. ^ Greg Leedham (11 July 2011). "Powell blasts England 'cowards'". Morning Star. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  16. ^ "Sampson Names Final Qualifier Squad". The FA. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  17. ^ "England seal Cyprus Cup victory after Canada run dry".
  18. ^ "England squad named for FIFA Women's World Cup".
  19. ^ "England's Women's World Cup ratings". BBC Sport.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "England squad named for World Cup". The Football Association. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  22. ^ Lacey-Hatton, Jack (18 November 2022). "Lionesses introduce 'legacy numbers' for players past and present". mirror. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  23. ^ "Team GB women's squad for London 2012 announced". BBC Sport. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Tongue Tied Media — Claire Rafferty". Tongue Tied Media.
  25. ^ "Women's World Cup: Claire Rafferty on England's chances, players to watch, and more". talkSPORT. 7 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Claire Rafferty returns to Chelsea in a commercial role | Official Site | Chelsea Football Club". ChelseaFC.
  27. ^ "Who's who in the England women's squad?". BBC Sport. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  28. ^ "Claire Rafferty's linkedin profile". 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  29. ^ "@clrafferty1 You're in ZOO's Hot 101 issue! RT and let your followers know!". Zoo Weekly. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  30. ^ Rafferty, Claire (3 May 2023). "She said yes 💍 ❤️". Instagram. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  31. ^ "C. Rafferty". Soccerway. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  32. ^ Lavery, Glenn (11 March 2015). "England 1–0 Canada: Cyprus Cup final match report". The Football Association.
  33. ^ "Match for third place – Match report" (PDF). FIFA. 4 July 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2019.