Fran Kirby, two-time Women’s Player of the Year in England, is taking an indefinite leave from the game. The Chelsea and England star forward/midfielder missed full year with a heart condition in 2019-20 and will again step away from the sport to focus on her health.
Kirby, 28, made the announcement on social media on Friday evening after Chelsea coach Emma Hayes had ruled her out of the Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against rival Arsenal.
— Fran Kirby (@frankirby) April 15, 2022
Why Is Fran Kirby Out?
Fran Kirby has been ruled out because of ongoing fatigue, for which team doctors cannot find a diagnosis. It is unknown if it is related to a prior heart condition. Her participation in the 2022 Women’s Euros on home soil is now in doubt.
“There’s no chance of her playing at the weekend,” Hayes said Friday. “She’s been taking some time in the background; she’s been suffering with a lot of fatigue. I don’t have a definitive reason why that is, we don’t know.”
When healthy, Kirby is one of the best players in the world. A goal scorer for England at the last two Women’s World Cups, she was named PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year for the 2017-18 season. She’s won 11 trophies with Chelsea, including four league titles.
In late 2019, Kirby was ruled out indefinitely with pericarditis, a rare heart condition in which the fibrous sac surrounding the heart becomes inflamed. Told she might never play soccer again, she instead returned the following fall. In 2020-21, she was again awarded PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year after racking up 16 goals and 11 assists for the Blues.
If anyone can overcome an undefined medical condition, it’s Kirby, and she’s got the backing of the women’s soccer world as evidenced by the number of supportive comments on her Instagram page.