OXFORD United Women skipper Riva Casley has announced she is to leave the club.

The 24-year-old centre back captained the side as they missed out on the chance to claim the Southern Premier Division crown on the final day of last season.

United headed into their last game top of the league and knowing a win would’ve secured them the title, however they were beaten 1-0 at Ipswich Town.

READ ALSO: Liam Manning provides update on search for a new striker

Casley posted a message on Twitter, saying: “The last two years I’ve rekindled my love for the beautiful game both on and off the pitch, and making this decision hasn’t been an easy one, I can promise you that, but it’s one that I feel had to be made.

“The journey we’ve been on over the last two years has been unforgettable and it’s a time I’ll cherish forever.

“We continued our unbeaten home record, we challenged for the title both years and we had the most amazing group of players I have ever been a part of.

“Having the opportunity to step up and captain such an incredible group of players is something I’ve always dreamt of, and without the support and belief from all of my teammates, that wouldn’t have been possible.”

Oxford Mail: Click here to sign up to the Oxford United newsletter Click here to sign up to the Oxford United newsletter (Image: Newsquest)

Meanwhile, winger Tash Stephens – who joined the club in January from Crawley Wasps – has also revealed her exit from the U’s.

The duo follow the retirement of the influential midfielder Naomi Cole last month.

The 31-year-old joined last summer, with her set pieces an important weapon for United last season.

Announcing her retirement on Twitter, she posted: “Football has taken a significant toll on my personal life, my career and now my body.

“It has always been my schedule and life, and working around that is something I’d always make happen.

“The passion I have for the game has gradually subsidised over the last few seasons and this post-season break has shown that it’s time to step back.

“My last season with Oxford was decided as an opportunity to recapture that love, and be at an environment where I could thrive, and it definitely captured that.

“Despite us not winning the league and getting a promotion, which would have bene the fairy tale ending, I can wholeheartedly say I wouldn’t have wanted to finish my career sharing a pitch with anyone except the group I had at Oxford.

“I can honestly say this decision is at the right time for me. My mentality isn’t at the driven stage it used to be, my body has been through extreme years of grind, and I am completely at peace with stepping away from the game I love.”

Help support trusted local news 

Sign up for a digital subscription now: oxfordmail.co.uk/subscribe

As a digital subscriber you will get: 

  • Unlimited access to the Oxford Mail website 
  • Advert-light access 
  • Reader rewards 
  • Full access to our app

About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.