Stephen Robert Ward (born 20 August 1985) is an Irish professional footballer who plays for EFL Championship club Stoke City.
He is able to play in a variety of positions, primarily left-back, but also in left midfield and as a striker.
Ward began his senior career with Bohemians in his native Ireland, before moving to English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2007. Featuring regularly, he was part of their promotion to the Premier League two years later and played over 230 times for the club. Following consecutive relegations though he was transfer listed, eventually leaving to return to the Premier League with Burnley in 2014.
Since 2011 he has been a regular member of the Republic of Ireland's international squads, and has played at UEFA Euro 2012 and UEFA Euro 2016.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Ward grew up in Portmarnock and played schoolboy football for Home Farm and Portmarnock. Ward joined Dublin-based League of Ireland side Bohemians from Portmarnock in the summer of 2003. He scored twice on his debut as a substitute against Skerries Town in the FAI Cup on 15 August 2003. His form in Ireland attracted interest from various English sides. The 2006 season with Bohemians ended up being his last and he made a total of 93 appearances for the club, scoring 26 times.
On 15 August 2014 Ward moved to newly promoted Premier League side Burnley, signing a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Ward received his first full call-up to the Republic of Ireland national team squad on 4 May 2011, for friendlies against Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia. He made his national team debut on 24 May 2011 in a Nations Cup game against Northern Ireland, where he opened the scoring in a 5–0 victory. Ward made his competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland against Slovakia in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match, during which he kept a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw. Ward scored his second international goal in the second leg of the play-off for UEFA Euro 2012 against Estonia, sealing Ireland's place in their first major tournament since 2002 with an unprecedented 5–1 aggregate win.
Ward was picked in Trapattoni's 23-man squad for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine, going on to play in all three of their matches in the tournament before their group stage elimination.
He played in three of Ireland's four matches at Euro 2016 as the Boys in Green made the knockout stages, losing to France in the Round of 16.