Wales International and Glasgow 2014 Goalkeeper Ria Male has called time on her international sporting career with the announcement of her retirement from hockey. Male has represented Wales at both junior and senior level in a career that has spanned two decades, and was most notably part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games following an inspiring comeback.

Ria, who is originally from Aberdare, said: “This has not been an easy decision for me to make, however due to my work commitments and personal circumstances, I feel now is the right time for me to retire.”

As well as representing Wales at an international level, Ria has been working full-time with Cardiff City Football Club Foundation and last September was promoted to Director of Education and Inclusion. She continued:


“Balancing my professional and sporting life has been a big influence on my decision. I have had an amazing sporting career, one which has led me to meet some incredible people and given me the opportunity to travel the world, so for this I will always be eternally grateful.”

Ria made her Senior debut against Scotland in 2002 having previously represented Wales at a Under 16, 18 and 21 level, but retired in 2006 due to injury. Following recovery from her injuries, she pursued kick-boxing and football, later playing for Cardiff City Women’s Football Team.

It was whilst playing in the Champions League in Bosnia in 2013 Male made her decision to return to hockey, just one year out from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games:


“The intensity and emotion of playing football at that level made me realise how much I missed hockey. Making a comeback after seven-years out was one of the defining moments of my career. I made a commitment to hockey and eight months later I had been selected for the Commonwealth Games.

“Glasgow was one of my proudest moments; lining up in front of the Queen ahead of our match against England was an amazing feeling and playing in front of a 5000-strong crowd was phenomenal.  I’d like to thank the performance team staff at the time for taking a chance on me, as I wouldn’t have had that experience without them.”


Hockey Wales’ Head of Performance Dan Clements said: “Everyone at Hockey Wales would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ria on a stellar international career. She has epitomised grit and determination in working her way back to the top of the game after a short break. She has been, and will continue to be a fantastic role model to all young players who wish to play international hockey and we thank her for her service to Wales over the last 15 years


Ria will continue her involvement in hockey as a coach, guiding the goalkeepers of the future at the Hockey Wales 360 Hockey Centres, as well as coaching Cardiff-based club side Howardians Ladies 1st XI and the Wales Masters Women Over 40 & 45 Age Groups. She added:


“I owe a lot to hockey, not just in terms of the experiences, but also the skills I have developed along the way. Sport has helped equip me for my professional career and as a coach I hope I can help others develop similar skills that will help them in the future on and off the pitch.”


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Team @ AberdareOnline

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