Netball: Harlow legend Jo Harten announces her retirement from international competition
Sport / Mon 24th Apr 2023 at 10:40am
As one of the most influential players within English netball, 34-year-old Harten achieved 117 caps for England and will be celebrated as one of the country’s most successful ever players reports England Netball
Speaking about her announcement, Jo Harten said: “Playing for England has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Working together with amazing athletes to achieve a common goal is what it’s always been about for me. I am so grateful for the experience and will cherish the memories made with teammates and management that have become family over the last 16 years.
“I know what it takes to compete against the best in the world, but I feel I can’t give 100% of myself both physically and mentally at this stage. I’ve come to this decision with both myself and my Roses family in mind leading into the World Cup campaign.
“There are many people to thank, none more so than my family near and far, especially my dedicated parents, supporting me every step of the way. They love the game just as much as me. A special mention also to my junior coaches Carol Bull and Jean Cant from Harlow for their continued support.
“Finally, I’d like to say thank you to our amazing netball community, fans, supporters and sponsors. You are what makes the game great and your support throughout my career has been incredible.
“Signing off from international duty, it’s been an honour. Thanks for the memories!”
Having undergone a knee arthroscope at the end of January to repair ongoing issues in her left knee, unfortunately, injuries have significantly impacted Jo’s availability for international duty of late. The decision will rule her out of contention for the upcoming Vitality Netball World Cup this summer.
Harten will continue to play domestic netball for GIANTS Netball in the Suncorp Super Netball league in Australia, a team she has captained for three seasons.
Commenting on Jo’s retirement, Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby added: “Jo is not only one of the most loved and revered Roses players of all time but will go down as one of the world’s best netballers and what she has done for the global game is undeniable.
“To have had the privilege to have coached Jo at England age groups, U21 World Youth Cup in 2009 and again in these recent years, almost 15 years later, is something I will cherish. Few people in life have the ability to impact you in a way that stays with you and working with Jo has been an absolute pleasure. Her devotion to the teams she plays with and represents combined with her sheer curiosity about how to constantly challenge the status quo as to how the game can be played is inspiring. You can’t help but be drawn in and her passion is palpable. A real student of our game, Jo is the ultimate role model and I have no doubt will continue to drive the sport forward in the years to come.
“Whilst it is sad to know that we won’t get to see Jo pull on the red dress again I urge us all to celebrate the commitment, loyalty and love that Jo has shown to the Roses over decades of service. We are so thankful to Jo and her family, mum Christine and Dad Barry and all the clubs and respective Coaches who will have helped Jo to become the player she is, not least her GIANTS family for whom we know Jo has such a strong connection having made Australia her home over recent years.
“I know Jo will continue to be a huge source of support for the team as we head towards Cape Town and her leadership and professionalism will live on through the team for whom she has inspired along her Roses journey.”
Having first been selected to represent England in 2007, Jo’s final appearance wearing the famous red dress came at the Vitality Netball International Series against Jamaica in January 2023.
Awarded an MBE for services to netball in 2020, the Harlow-born player represented the Vitality Roses at four Netball World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) and at four Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022), including the historic triumph on the Gold Coast in 2018.
At club level, she began her domestic journey with Saracens Mavericks followed by a five-year stint at Loughborough Lightning in the Netball Super League (NSL), before making the move abroad to ply her trade in New Zealand and then Australia.
Paying tribute to Jo, England Netball Chief Executive Fran Connolly said: “Today the curtain comes down on the international career of one of our most celebrated players. What Jo has done for our sport in terms of the commitment, dedication and leadership that she has bought to the Vitality Roses squad has undoubtedly helped take the sport to new heights on the world stage.
“On behalf of everyone across the Netball Family, we’d like to extend our massive thanks to Jo for everything she has done for the game, for always representing her country so impeccably and for being an incredible role model for everyone watching on. The pure joy of her winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games will live long in our memories, as will all the other major contributions she has made to England at the many major championships throughout her stellar career. We wish Jo all the very best for the next part of her journey.”
Photo courtesy of England Netball