Sheffield FC Women’s longest serving player, Lisa Giampalma, now in her tenth season with the World’s First, reaches a milestone this afternoon that no other female player at the Club has achieved, or even come close to.
The forward becomes the first female to rack up 300 appearances for the Club, nearly 80 more than the next highest total.
Having joined in summer 2007, Giampalma has been a part of every trophy the women’s first team has ever won – 12 in total (six league titles, one league cup, four county cups, and one championship play off title).
As well as 300 appearances she has also scored 126 goals for the Club, the second highest of all-time behind legendary striker Jodie Michalska. And in spite of being one of the oldest players in the squad, Giampalma has remained one of the fittest.
Giampalma joined Sheffield FC from Loughborough Students after moving up to Sheffield for work as a teacher. Playing then in central midfield, she quickly became a vital part of the squad, and a firm favourite amongst the team’s supporters. League success and promotion followed at the end of that first season, followed by back-to-back promotions in 2009/10 and 2010/11 to see the Club join the FA Women’s Premier League for the first time.
Giampalma progressed to a role as a winger, her pace and boundless energy contributing hugely to Sheffield’s attacking style of play as they ended 2011/12 as Northern Division runners up. The following three seasons brought more success to the Club with the first team finishing top of the FA WPL Northern Division each year, retaining the Sheffield & Hallamshire Women’s Challenge Cup three times, and adding the FA WPL Cup, with Giampalma on the score sheet in the final as they beat Cardiff City 6-2.
Giampalma played a key role in the FA WPL Championship Play Off Final in May 2015, when Sheffield’s 1-0 win against Portsmouth handed the team its greatest prize to date – promotion to the FA Women’s Super League – with the winger scoring the injury time winner in the Club’s finest and most exciting hour.
After making the incredibly difficult decision to leave the Club at the end of that amazing season, Lisa continued to play football for Loughborough Foxes for one season before joining Derby County in 2016/17 for a two year spell.
When Sheffield FC took the decision to leave the Women’s Super League in the summer of 2018, Giampalma returned to help re-establish the Club at Tier 3 in the most difficult of seasons, finishing the 2018/19 season as the team’s top scorer.
“Sheffield FC has so much to thank Lisa for”, said former first team manager and now General Manager, Helen Mitchell. “It’s hard to do justice to a career which has been so long, so incredibly successful, and so important to the Club. We’ve had some fantastic times over recent years, and Lisa has not only been present for them all, but has played a very important part in our successes.”
“Lisa scored the goal which won us our first ever trophy (the North East Regional WFL Division 1 South league title in 2007/08) in a 1-1 draw against Keighley on the final day of the season, and she scored the goal which secured our most recent title…seven years later in the FA WPL Championship Play Off Final.”
“She epitomises what this Club is about: hard work, commitment, determination and selflessness. She’s sacrificed so much time over the years, given so much energy, and showed so much dedication – I cannot imagine a player who could’ve given more to this Club. She is Sheffield through and through, runs through walls for the team, is so proud to wear the shirt week in week out, and there have been few players as worthy as Lisa to do so.”
“She will always be valued and respected here, and it will be very difficult for anyone to replicate what she’s achieved or to break her record of all-time appearances for the Club. On behalf of everyone, I’d like to congratulate Lisa and thank her for her unfailing loyalty, her unparalleled contribution to the progress the Club has made, and for her humility, selflessness and sheer hard work.”