New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler and defender Rebekah Stott are excited to begin 2017 at new clubs at Grenoble FC and Seattle Reign FC respectively.
Nayler, who joined French club Olympique Lyonnais last year, is excited to get more game time this season with the second division French side.
The 24-year-old will still train predominantly with Olympique Lyonnais, with one or two trainings with her new club every week. She considered it the best of both worlds.
“I am really looking forward to getting some more game time,” she said.
“Training with OL will allow me to continue to improve the technical side of my goalkeeping and then I will get the chance to put that into practice with Grenoble at the end of the week which is a quality Division Two side,” she added.
Meanwhile, Seattle Reign FC have announced the signing of Stott pending the receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Stott, who has spent the 2016–2017 season with Melbourne City FC in the Australian W-League, playing with Reign FC’s Jessica Fishlock, Lauren Barnes, and Beverly Yanez, is looking forward to the challenge of playing in the States.
“I am excited to join the Seattle Reign for the 2017 season,” she said
“I’ve heard great things about the club and can’t wait to get started.”
Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager Laura Harvey is looking forward to having Stott on board.
“Rebekah has experience playing in multiple positions, which is something that we need across the backline,” she said.
“Obviously she’s now had a bit of a relationship with Lu [Barnes] out in Australia so I think that will help her fit in real quick.
“Speaking to her she sounds like a fantastic character that will fit into our group really well.”
The defender, who featured for Melbourne City during their 2015–2016 campaign helping them to a W-League Championship, has 42 caps and three international goals for New Zealand.
Football Ferns coach Tony Readings said both Nayler and Stott will develop further in the new environments.
“It is great that Erin has been able to keep her links with a world-class club like Olympique Lyonnais and at the same play week-in, week-out at Grenoble,” he said.
“We want all of our players, playing regular first team football and there is no doubt that being in this environment and playing regularly will help Erin continue to improve her game,” he added.
“For Rebekah, we know that she is a top defender and she has shown that with the Football Ferns and Melbourne City in recent years.
“We think she will go to another level playing in the NWSL in the States.
“They have a good squad at Seattle and I am sure that competition will help her to keep building on what she has achieved already for the Ferns.”
Readings said the move will help Nayler and Stott’s preparation for the Cyprus Cup in March as the team looks to build toward pinnacle events the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Nayler said the experience of living in the south of France has been a great lifestyle and also good for her football.
“The level and intensity of training is so high so it doesn’t allow me to ever drop my standards,” she said.
“Life in France has been great. I am living in the very centre of Lyon so there is always plenty to do.”
Nayler will get a chance to show her Olympique Lyonnais team-mates – including new star signings US Soccer international Alex Morgan, Canadian national rep Kadeisha Buchanan and German rep Josephine Henning from the January transfer window – her ability as her first game for her new club side will be against the European Champions in the French Cup.
“It will be a tough game and I will be playing against the team I have trained with for the past four months,” she said.
The highly-rated keeper, who has played 44 internationals since making her debut for New Zealand in 2012, is looking forward to joining her Ferns team-mates for the first time since the Rio Olympic Games.
The Ferns will face Scotland, Austria and the Korea Republic in the invitational tournament which has been held annually in Cyprus since 2008.
“It’s the start of a new chapter for the Ferns and I think there will be a lot of changes. It will be really interesting to see where we are at after the break and I am really looking forward to seeing the team again,” Nayler said.
Meanwhile, Football Ferns skipper Abby Erceg, who made history last year by leading the Western New York Flash to a NWSL championship, will also be playing for a new club this year.
The Western New York Flash will relocate to North Carolina ahead of the 2017 season and the club will be renamed as the North Carolina Courage.
The team will leave Rochester, New York and begin operations in North Carolina immediately. The club will play at WakeMed Soccer Park in the 2017 NWSL season.
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football