Ashleigh Sykes has rejoined to Canberra United, signing for the upcoming 2021-22 A-League Women's season.
The signing is a boost for Canberra who now add their most ever capped player to this year's roster. Sykes had first made her debut for the club in 2008, during the league's inaugural season. The attacker has not played in the past two A-League Women's campaigns.
Ashleigh Sykes Canberra United signing
- The attacker returns to the team after having last played in 2019.
- This is her second time coming out of retirement to return to Canberra.
- She has spent eleven seasons with the club and remains United's most capped player.
You can find Sykes full career statistics using this link.
After her A-League Women's debut, Sykes would go on to make 113 appearances for Canberra United, scoring 41 goals in the next eleven seasons. She won the A-League Women's Championship twice and the Premiership three times.
The attacker also spent one season abroad playing with Japanese side AS Harima Albion in 2016 and one season with American NWSL side the Portland Thorns in 2017. Internationally she made her senior Matildas debut in 2008 aged 16 and went on to get 19 caps in the next nine years.
Sykes had originally announced her departure from playing the sport at the end of the 2017-18 A-League Women's season after having played for the side for a decade. However, she came out of retirement for the final five games of the 2018-19 Canberra United A-League Women's season.
This is therefore the second time that the Canberra United player has come out of retirement. At age 29 she still arguably has many years left in her career, should she continue past this season. Sykes spoke of her reasoning for her return in her signing announcement:
“I found my love for football again playing with my club team Canberra Olympic this past winter season.
“The players and coaches made it fun, and reminded me how much joy can be found on a football field. I'm hoping to get similar enjoyment from playing for Canberra United again, it's always been my experience here and the team have made me feel welcome.
“I missed the feeling of competing every day with your teammates and for spots on the team. I love the challenge that this comeback presents. Getting match fit and back up to the standards that the A-League Women’s demand is my driving force at the moment.
“It's always a privilege to wear the Canberra United jersey and play for this club. I'm super excited by the opportunity from Vicki and the club to have me play for them. I hope to make an impact for the team and add some more firepower to our already talented attacking stocks.”
Head coach Vicky Linton expressed her excitement of having a player with such a pedigree joining this year's squad.
“Ash is a quality player with so much experience and has been a massive part of this club from day one,.
“I had the chance to work with her in my time with the Matildas and to be able to reunite with her here at club level is such a nice opportunity.
"Already she has shown her ability and intelligence as a player and she will no doubt have a positive impact for this team with her performances in games but also with her mentality and the culture she can bring in training.
"I am really glad she has this chance to come back and compete at a high level again and enjoy her football.”
Canberra United open their A-League Women against Melbourne City on December 3, 2021.
The full Canberra United schedule can be found using this link.