England’s women’s team paid tribute to Sheffield United star Maddy Cusack following her shock death at the age of 27.
Cusack, who was the longest-serving member on the side and named the Blade’s vice-captain last month, tragically died on Wednesday. Her cause of death has not yet been disclosed but Chesterfield Coroner in Derbyshire said it is investigating.
This evening, as the Lionesses went head-to-head with Scotland in the UEFA Nations League tournament, a minutes silence was held at the Stadium of Light for the young player who represented England at the Under-19 level.
As the stadium fell quiet a young Cusack’s fan was seen holding up a sign with a photo of the Blades midfielder, with ‘RIP Maddy, gone to soon’ written on it, while a black and white photo of the player flashed up on screens around the stadium.
The Football Association had reportedly been in contact with Sheffield United over an appropriate tribute to Cusack. Both teams were seen wearing black armbands in her memory.
England’s women’s team tonight paid tribute to Sheffield United star Maddy Cusack following her shock death at the age of 27
Yesterday, Sheffield United announced that its star midfielder, Maddy Cusack had died at the age of 27
Tonight, ahead of the Lionesses match against Scotland, a minutes silence was held in the Stadium of Light
A young Cusack fan was seen holding up a sign in the stadium that read ‘RIP Maddy Cusack, gone to soon’
As silence fell upon the stadium, a black and white photo of the football star, who previously played for England’s Under-19s, flashed upon the screen
Cusack’s sudden death has sparked an outpouring of grief from her ‘broken’ teammates, as well as several members of the Lionesses squad.
Her heartbroken brother, Richard Cusack, led tributes yesterday tweeting: ‘My beautiful sister. May you rest in peace Maddy.’
Lionesses’ captain Leah Williamson wrote: ‘Sending all my love and condolences to Maddy’s family at this awful time!’
Williamson was joined by team-mates Beth Mead, Jordan Nobbs, Beth England and Lauren Hemp in paying tribute.
Meanwhile the FA director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, issued a statement on behalf of the Women’s national side, stating that the FA was offering it’s support to the Blades.
She said: ‘On behalf of the FA, the Lionesses, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship, our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Maddy’s family, friends, team-mates and everyone at Sheffield United.
‘Maddy also represented England at age-group level and we will pay tribute to her at an appropriate point. We are in contact with the club and will continue to offer them our full support during this incredibly sad time.’
Behind the scenes footage posted earlier this week by Sheffield United showed Cusack beaming at the camera as the team revealed its new kit ahead of the season.
In the video, the 27-year-old described the club’s way kit – the first strip ever designed uniquely for a women’s team – as ‘really cool’ before adding it would be ‘a fan favourite’.
Sheffield United midfielder Maddy Cusack has died at the age of 27, the club have announced
Scotland’s team (pictured during the minutes silence) also wore black armbands throughout the match
A black armband, in tribute to Maddy Cusack, is seen in the England dressing room ahead of the UEFA Womens National League match
The former England youth international, who was the longest-serving player in their current squad, signed a new contract extension with the club in July
Cusack, named vice-captain last month, had just started her sixth season with the Blades
Cusack, who was hailed as ‘pure talent’ by her teammates, joined Sheffield United in 2019 when they were half-way through their first season in the Barclay’s Women’s Championship in 2019.
Described by the club as ‘an all-energy midfielder’ Cusack is the first women’s player to reach 100 appearances for the football club and had signed a new deal back in July.
The former England youth international, who also worked as a marketing executive at the club, signed a new contract extension with the club in July.
Sharing the news just seven weeks ago, she wrote on Instagram: ‘Six years and counting… Really happy to have signed another deal with Sheffield United. Exited [sic] for the new season!’
Cusack – who previously played for Birmingham, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, said about her decision to stay: ‘I think everyone knows how much I love this club. This club is my home.’
Under the photo, which shows her beaming at the camera as she penned her new deal, tributes from fans have poured in. One user said: ‘RIP Beautiful’. Another said: ‘Rest easy darling.’
Cusack’s teammates also took to social media to pay their respects. Goalkeeper Beth Davies wrote on X, formally known as Twitter, that she was ‘heartbroken’.
‘There aren’t words to say how much you’ll be missed, Mads,’ she added.
Defender Molly Graham wrote: ‘Absolutely devastating news. Such a great person and team-mate. You will be missed hugely! Rest in peace Mads.’
Cusack’s former teammate at Aston Villa, Chloe Beattie wrote: ‘Can’t quite believe what I’ve heard at the moment. Many years of sharing the pitch with you to only speaking to you 2 weeks ago.
‘Many seasons of training, matches, playing abroad, lots of highs and lots of lows. You were pure talent. What a person. What a player. Always our number 8. Rest in peace.’
Cusack also worked as a marketing executive at the club, who said they were ‘devastated’ by her death
Cusack was seen beaming at the camera in what is believed to be the last footage of her online before her shock death
In behind the scenes footage posted by Sheffield United yesterday, Cusack and her team-mates unveiled the club’s new kit ahead of the season
Her heartbroken brother, Richard Cusack, paid tribute yesterday, tweeting: ‘My beautiful sister. May you rest in peace Maddy.’
England women’s star Leah Williamson was among the players to post a message of support on X
England and Arsenal star Beth Mead said: ‘Devastated by this news. Had the pleasure of playing with Maddy at youth. Thoughts and love to Maddy’s friends and family.’
Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Nobbs added: ‘Sending all our love to Maddy’s family and friends.’ Tottenham’s Beth England posted: ‘This is devastating news. My thoughts and love go out to her family, friends and everyone at Sheffield United. Rest in peace, Maddy.’
And Manchester City forward Lauren Hemp penned: ‘Awful awful news, my love and thoughts are with her family, friends and everyone at Sheffield.’
A Sheffield Primary school called Cusack an ‘inspiration’ remembering how she came to visit pupils despite the snow.
Ecclesall Primary School shared a photo of Cusack smiling with the schoolchildren along with the caption: ‘We are really saddened to hear that footballer Maddy Cusack died earlier this week aged just 27.
‘Maddy was one of three players from Sheffield United who came to inspire girls to play football at a joint event with Sheffield Girls’ in March 2023 (in the falling snow)! Our thoughts are with her family, friends and the wider Sheffield United, Sheffield United Women community. A really inspirational woman!’
Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out also said it was “deeply saddened” by the news of her death.
Aston Villa star Alisha Lehmann, one of the most popular women’s footballers, posted: ‘Everyone at Aston Villa is devastated to learn of the passing of former player, Maddy Cusack.
‘Our thoughts and condolences are with Maddy’s family and friends at this difficult time. When I saw this I was very heartbroken REST IN PEACE DEAR.’
Maddy Cusack (pictured in her last Instagram post), who was named vice-captain of Sheffield United last month, tragically died on Wednesday
Cusack’s team-mates took to social media to pay tribute to their friend and colleague on Friday
Friends described her as a ‘beautiful soul’ who was ‘always kind and helpful’. ‘You had gone on to achieve amazing things and we had watched with pride,’ a friend said. ‘Thoughts to your lovely family. An utter tragic loss to comprehend.’
The talented footballer last played for the Blades on August 27 in a 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic. She did not feature for the club in their defeats to Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers or their win over Lewes earlier this month.
Sheffield United revealed the sad news yesterday evening. A statement from the Blades read: ‘Sheffield United Football Club is devastated to report the sad news of the passing of Maddy Cusack.’
‘Maddy, a women’s team player since 2019 and marketing executive for the Football Club, passed away on Wednesday.
‘A respected player, Maddy, 27, last season reached the milestone of 100 appearances for Sheffield United Women.
‘Additionally, she was a valued colleague in the offices at Bramall Lane, moving over from the Sheffield United Community Foundation to the club in 2021 to help market all areas of the Blades.’
Sheffield United’s chief executive officer Stephen Bettis said: ‘This is heart-breaking news for everyone at Bramall Lane.
A Sheffield primary school described how the ‘insipirational’ Cusack came to visit in the snow
Sheffield United legend Billy Sharp tweeted a heartfelt photo of him and Cusack celebrating the club’s promotion to the Premier League
‘Maddy had a unique position of being part of a number of teams at Sheffield United and was popular with everyone that she came into contact with.
‘Her personality and professionalism made her a credit to her family – she will be sadly missed.
‘While taking in the news and moving forward, the club will offer as much support as possible to Maddy’s family, friends and colleagues.’
Paul Heckingbottom, the manager of Sheffield United’s men’s team, said: ‘First and foremost everyone’s thoughts are with Maddy’s friends and family, a lot of Maddy’s friends work at this football club.
‘Maddy, especially in my time here, has been a big part of everything, a senior figure among the women’s team and the media team as well.
‘Everyone would see her about all the time. It’s tough and we need to make sure everyone is OK at the club and we all support each other because it is sad, sad news.
‘(Chief executive) Steve Betts called me yesterday and it knocked me back a bit, I’ll admit. As much as we are preparing for a huge, huge game and wanting to get on with everything, it has affected a lot of people.
‘Maddy has been to so many people in the club, there are a lot of people suffering and feeling it, without a doubt.
Several of her Sheffield United team-mates paid tribute following the announcement of her death
‘We look after everyone here, but first and foremost we are thinking of Maddy’s family. And we send them our best.’
Cusack’s picture will appear on the front of the club programme and players will wear black armbands, while discussions are ongoing over other possible tributes.
‘There are plans and discussions going off for a tribute, we want to be very respectful to Maddy’s family as well and make sure they are heavily involved and understand what we want to do,’ Heckingbottom added.
‘As much as we want to show our respect and thoughts and how we are feeling we want to make sure her family lead on it.’
Former Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp tweeted a heartfelt photo of him and Cusack celebrating the club’s promotion to the Premier League with the caption: ‘Such a lovely girl, enjoyed some amazing times with Maddy and the Blades. Such a lovely girl, enjoyed some amazing times with Maddy and the Blades.’
In the last video of Cusack, which was filmed in August but only released on Wednesday, she is asked by a team-mate holding a GoPro: ‘How do you feel Maddy?’
The footballer, donning the club’s new home kit, replied: ‘Yeah good. The kit’s nice. What do you think to the new away kit?’
She then sweetly tells her team-mate: ‘You know what it really suits you, the blue.’
When her team-mate then jokes ‘does it really bring out my eyes?’ Maddy replies: It absolutely does, yeah.’
Later on in the video Cusack is seen wearing Sheffield United’s away kit. When asked what she thinks of it, she replies: ‘Yeah really cool, really nice.’ She added: ‘Very pretty, yeah really great. Looks fresh. I think this will hopefully be a fan favourite.’
Source From: Football | Mail Online