Pauline Cope

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Pauline Cope
Pauline Cope.JPG
Personal information
Full name Pauline Cope-Boanas
Date of birth (1969-02-16) 16 February 1969 (age 50)[1]
Place of birth Lambeth, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[2]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1982–1990 Millwall Lionesses
1990–1991 Arsenal Ladies
1991–1993 Millwall Lionesses
1994–1995 Arsenal Ladies
1995–1998 Millwall Lionesses
1998–2000 Croydon
2000–2006 Charlton Athletic
National team
1995–2004 England 60 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Pauline Cope (born 16 February 1969), whose married name is Pauline Cope-Boanas, is an English former football goalkeeper. She won 60 caps for the England women's national football team between her debut in 1995 and retirement from international football in 2004. Cope was England's first choice goalkeeper at the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA Women's Euro 2001. Ted Copeland, England's coach at the former competition, described Cope as the best female goalkeeper in the world.

Having started playing with Millwall Lionesses in her native South London, Cope remained until 1998. Her time at the club was interspersed with two separate spells with Arsenal and a season out of football in 1993–94. She moved on to Croydon, who came under the auspices of Charlton Athletic in 2000. Cope finished her club career playing for Charlton under the management of partner and future husband Keith Boanas, retiring in 2006. A League champion on three occasions, Cope won the FA Women's Cup four times and was a losing finalist twice.

Club career[edit]

At club level Cope won the FA Women's Cup with Millwall Lionesses, Arsenal and Croydon and in May 2004 played in goal for Charlton in their 3-0 final defeat against Arsenal.[3]

In the 2000 FA Women's Cup Final at Bramall Lane, Cope saved a penalty kick from her England teammate Karen Walker as Croydon beat Doncaster Belles 2–1. As Croydon celebrated their win, Cope revealed a T-shirt bearing the legend: "I love my Keith."[4] The following week Croydon beat Aston Villa 6–0 to win the league and clinch a domestic double.[5]

In 2003 Cope was employed as a full-time girls' development officer with Charlton Athletic. The position allowed her to improve the way she trained: "I'm in the best position in women's football in Europe. Maybe even the world, because I get to train day-in day-out with Dean Kiely, who's one of the best keepers around."[6] She played in Charlton's 3–0 defeat to full-time professional Fulham in the 2003 FA Women's Cup Final.

A fortnight after helping Charlton beat Arsenal 2–1 in the 2006 Premier League Cup final, 37-year-old Cope produced a vintage performance in the FA Women's Cup semi final but Charlton lost 2–1 to the same opponents. Having watched his side score a late winner in extra time, Arsenal manager Vic Akers declared: "Pauline Cope was absolutely outstanding."[7] Cope then retired from club football at the end of the 2005–06 season.[8] After her final game, a 1–0 defeat at Everton which consigned Charlton to third place in the table, club captain Casey Stoney said of Cope: "If I'm honest I don't think she can be replaced. She's the best goalkeeper I've ever seen."[9]

International career[edit]

Cope played 60 times for the senior England women's national football team, making her debut in a 1–1 friendly draw with Italy in Florence on 26 January 1995.[10] By the time of the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup, held in Sweden during June 1995, she had displaced former Millwall teammate Lesley Higgs as England's first choice goalkeeper. At the tournament it was reported that Cope's performances in comprehensive defeats by Norway and Germany had averted "hideous embarrassment" for the outmatched English team.[11] National coach Ted Copeland described her as "the best keeper in the world."[12]

In October 2000, goalkeeping understudy Rachel Brown played in the UEFA Women's Euro 2001 qualification play-off in Ukraine when Cope was struck down with a stomach complaint on the morning of the game.[13] Cope was restored to the team for the final tournament and played in all three games as England went out in the group stage.[14]

In April 2004 Cope unexpectedly retired from international football.[15] In 2008, she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.[16]

Coaching career[edit]

In September 2015 Cope joined Gillingham Ladies as a goalkeeper coach.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Cope is the wife of former Estonia women's team coach Keith Boanas[18] and stepmother to Sonny and Kari Boanas. Despite her long association with Millwall's female section, Cope remains a West Ham United supporter.[19]


1994–95, 1998–99, 1999–00
1994–95, 1996–97, 1999–00, 2004–05
1993–94, 1996–97, 2003–04, 2005–06


  1. ^ "England:Pauline Cope". FIFA. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Pauline Cope". Inside Tips. Archived from the original on 23 September 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Live: FA Women's Cup Final". BBC. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Women's FA Cup 2000". British Broadcasting Corporation. 12 July 2000. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  5. ^ Burnton, Simon (8 May 2000). "Gallant Calais deprived by controversial penalty". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  6. ^ Harlow, Phil (2 May 2003). "Coping with the pressure". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  7. ^ Leighton, Tony (20 March 2006). "Gunners have their revenge". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Addicks keeper nets monthly award". BBC. 12 April 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  9. ^ Haines, Gary (17 May 2006). "Cope a one-off". Charlton Athletic F.C. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  10. ^ Di Maggio, Roberto (25 July 2013). "Italy - Women - International Results - Details 1994-2013". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  11. ^ Davies, Pete (1996). I Lost My Heart To The Belles. London: Mandarin. p. 319. ISBN 0-7493-2085-0.
  12. ^ Davies, Pete (1996). I Lost My Heart To The Belles. London: Mandarin. p. 317. ISBN 0-7493-2085-0.
  13. ^ Leighton, Tony (31 October 2000). "England progressing well". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  14. ^ Duret, Sébastien (19 May 2002). "European Women Championship 2001 - Final Tournament Details". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Cope ends England career". BBC. 21 April 2004. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  16. ^ Galvin, Robert. "Pauline Cope". National Football Museum. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  17. ^ "Gills Ladies Welcome England Legend To Coaching Set Up". Gillingham F.C. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Keith Bonas Q&A". BBC. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  19. ^ Kessel, Anna; Clarke, Gemma (1 May 2005). "Cope hopes to keep lock-up Duffy at bay". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2012.

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