RACHEL Brown has committed her future to Everton Ladies for the 2013 Women’s Super League season - just before making the big commitment to her fiance on New Year’s Eve!
The 32-year-old England and Team GB international was one of 12 to sign new deals with the Toffees, along with Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Danielle Hill, Fern Whelan, Lindsay Johnson, Alex Greenwood, Michelle Hinnigan, Amy Kane, Brooke Chaplen, Jody Handley and Nikita Parris.
And she will be able to celebrate with friends and family when she marries long-time partner Ian Finnis in Crosby on New Year’s Eve.
It has been a year to celebrate, with Rachel named Everton Ladies’ player of the year after an outstanding during the inaugural Women’s Super League campaign, keeping five clean sheets as the Blues secured a top-three finish.
Then followed selection for Team GB at the London Olympics, reaching the quarter-finals and England yet again qualifying for the European Championships in 2013 in Sweden.
So there is much to celebrate for the Burnley-born keeper: “I’m excited to stay at Everton, and the Euros are something we’re all very much focussed on after the Olympics.
“There have been a few changes at Everton, with a few players leaving for Liverpool - including my England room mate for 10 years, Fara Williams - so that should make the derby even more interesting!
“From an England perspective, we’ve become regular qualifiers for tournaments, and we’d like to go that step further now.
“We’ve been to a Euro final in 2009, but it’s an ambition of mine and the rest of the girls to put something on paper and win something.
“That would top off a memorable career for me.”
Rachel admits the time is coming where she will have to hang up her gloves, but that time isn’t just yet: “I wasn’t sure after the Olympics if I would have the drive to carry on with England - I could have finished on a high.
“But I feel we can still fight for honours.
“It was disappointing when we were knocked out of the Olympics as we felt we could have gone further, but I still want to achieve things.
“With Everton, I’ll take it season by season.
“After my injuries, and now getting married and hopefully starting a family - it’s obviously harder for women footballers to continue playing after having kids!
“So you’re thinking about what’s around the corner.
“But I’m looking forward to the season ahead with Everton and England.”
Not as much as her big day though: “We’ve combined two big events, getting married on New Year’s Eve, and it’s going to be brilliant.
“I still have a few things to sort out before the big day, but I can’t wait!”