Formerly retired star forward Ashleigh Sykes has signed with Canberra United for the remainder of the Westfield W-League season.
The 27-year old will move back into a playing role as an injury replacement player for Natasha Prior, who this week was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a severe concussion.
Sykes retired after Season 10 of the W-League and after a glittering career, before moving into a coaching role as Heather Garriock’s assistant for Season 11.
Garriock said she was excited to see Sykes return to the pitch, and implored fans to get behind the United foundation player.
“Ash has already shown the wealth of experience she possesses through her work on the sidelines this season,” Garriock said.
“Now she can use that leadership and winning mentality on the pitch as we head into the back half of the season.
“Her skill and experience will be very valuable for this squad and I know that our Canberra United family will be so excited to see her out on the pitch, and this is a great example of Ash’s selflessness and willingness to put her club first.”
Sykes won a Julie Dolan medal and Golden Boot during her playing years with United but missed a chunk of last season after a clumsy tackle against Brisbane Roar at McKellar Park.
The three-time Premiership winner said she was looking forward to getting back out on the pitch for a few more games.
“Due to some unfortunate circumstances this opportunity has come about, and I appreciate that Heather has put the faith in me to go out there and do a job,” she said.
“This certainly isn’t a case of me un-retiring, but I am excited to help the team out and get back in front of the Canberra United faithful at McKellar Park."
Sykes could run out for United as early as Thursday night when United host Roar.