Australian players have been a part of a wave of post-Olympic signings with Emily van Egmond, Emily Gielnik and Matildas co-captain Lisa De Vanna all joining new clubs.
Emily van Egmond was the first announcement with the Matildas midfielder joining Bundesliga and UEFA Women’s Champions League runner up VfL Wolfsburg on a two year deal.
The signing is a considerable one for Van Egmond after she parted ways with her fellow Bundesliga club FFC Frankfurt after just one season. The ending of her contract opened up the door for Wolfsburg, 2x UWCL and Bundesliga champion, to pick up the Matildas vice captain on a free transfer.
I want to thank @1_FFCFrankfurt for giving me the opportunity to play for such a good club. I will miss the team & all the best this season????
— Emily Van Egmond (@Em_surf) July 28, 2016
“It’s fantastic that I get the chance to play for Wolfsburg,” said Van Egmond.
“The club is highly professional and organised. I want to prove myself on the highest level and improve.”
“Therefore the transfer to one of the best clubs worldwide is a big challenge. I’m really looking forward to this move.”
Happy to announce I have signed for @VfLWob_Frauen extremely excited for the challenge ahead! ????
— Emily Van Egmond (@Em_surf) August 24, 2016
“In Emily, we have signed a young all-rounder with international class, who has already gathered experience in the Bundesliga and Champions-League” explained Ralf Kellermann, head-coach and Sporting Director of women’s football at VfL.
“We have won a player who can operate in almost any position, be that in attack or defensively.”
“The transfer is, to an extent, a reaction to the lengthy absences of Luisa Wensing, Julia Simic and Ewa Pajor – three players the team are really missing at the moment. For that reason, we are very happy to have won over Emily.”
— VfL Wolfsburg Frauen (@VfLWob_Frauen) August 24, 2016
The Bundesliga commences this weekend with Wolfsburg taking on FC Sand.
The next signing saw the unexpected move of Brisbane Roar and Matildas striker Emily Gielnik to top Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.
Gielnik joins the 2014 Nadeshiko Division 1 champions for a three month loan deal with the striker set to return in time for the 2016/17 W-League season.
“I am very pleased and excited to be given such a chance to play as a member of the Urawa Reds Ladies,” said Gielnik on the club website.
After strong performances the past two seasons, the Red Diamonds have suffered in 2016 with the team currently at the foot of the Nadeshiko table with just two wins from 11 matches. Urawa will be hoping the signing of Gielnik can assist them in turning things around and avoiding relegation.
“My style of play is I think that if you could give an impact to the Urawa Reds Ladies and I’m looking to move forward as a team and to move further up the ladder this season.”
Urawa Red Diamonds’ next match is on 11 September against Speranza.
The final transfer news sees Matildas co-captain Lisa De Vanna joining the newest NWSL team, the Orlando Pride, to round out their 2016 season.
The Pride came into the season with high expectations and have had bouts of success while the team has tried to find its footing. With a recent 2-1 loss to the top of the table Washington Spirit, the Pride are sitting in seventh place of ten. They are four points shy of the sixth place, and former club of De Vanna, Sky Blue FC.
De Vanna will be joining fellow Matilda, Laura Alleway, who has made nine appearances for the club this season. And at the helm for the Pride is another familiar face in that of Tom Sermani, former coach of the Matildas from 2005-2012. It’s noted that Steph Catley also played for the Pride this season but has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injuries.
“We’re delighted to sign a player of Lisa’s quality to add to the depth of the team and our attacking presence,” said Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni.
“Lisa is a world-class player, a game-changer and I’m looking forward to coaching her again.”
“I am incredibly happy to be joining the Orlando Pride and keen to be working with Tommy again,” De Vanna said of her signing. “I’m looking forward to joining the team. It’s exciting to be a part of a new team and will do my best to help the squad for the rest of the season.”
This is not De Vanna’s first venture to the United States to play professionally. Since the NWSL’S inception she has made appearances with Sly Blue, Boston Breakers and the Washington Spirit.
Perhaps her most memorable moment is the bicycle kick that garnered her a coveted Puska’s nomination in 2013 whilst playing for Sky Blue.
Prior to the NWSL, De Vanna played for the Washington Freedom (2009-10) and Magicjack (2011) in the WPS. So it is needless to say that De Vanna has a wealth of experience and familiarity when it comes to playing in the US.
She will be part of a vital late season push for the Pride to try and make their first nwsl play-offs.
The Pride play the Houston Dash in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium on September 3rd.
Reporting by Ann Odong and Maisie Vachuska