Young Matildas star and Sydney FC W-League midfielder Clare Wheeler has sealed a move to 11-time Danish champions Fortuna Hjorring.
The deal will allow the 23-year-old to turn fully professional at a club that's proven a fantastic stepping stone for multiple Matildas over the years.
"My time at Sydney FC has prepared me to take this next step in my career in Denmark,” she said.
“I’ve always wanted to completely pursue football full-time, play in the Champions League and hopefully represent my country.
“I’ve really enjoyed my season at Sydney FC. The squad, staff and fans have been extremely welcoming.
“From day one, the club was extremely accommodating on the field and off the field with helping me pursue both football and full-time work.
“Under Ante and the staff at Sydney FC I was able to hit new heights as a player in a more attacking role,” she continued.
“Sydney FC even presented the opportunity for me to play in my first W-League Grand Final and win my first Premiership.
“I’m sad to leave but I’m thankful I had the opportunity to be a part of something special and I’m sure Ante and the club will continue to be one of the most successful clubs in Australia.”
Sydney FC have lost an integral part of their team. Clare Wheeler, who featured twelve times for the premiership winning club last season, will be leaving to sign abroad.
She will be joining storied Danish side Fortuna Hjørring. The side has won the Elitedivisionen eleven times, the danish cup nine times and were runners up to the predecessor to the UEFA Women’s Champion’s league, then called the UEFA Women’s Cup, in 2003
With her departure, the W-League will be losing another talented veteran of the league to overseas opportunities. She has played eight W-League seasons.
Prior to joining Sydney last season, she had made 67 appearances for the Newcastle Jets in the six previous seasons.
When explaining the move to Sydney FC, the twenty-three year old who currently works full-time at Macquarie Bank expressed the desire to pursue football full-time.
Wheeler will join former Brisbane Roar striker Indiah-Paige Riley who has been with the club since last July.
The club finished third in the Elitedivisionen round, just one point behind second placed Brønby and league winners Køge. They sadly missed out on a UEFA women’s champion’s league spot for 2021-22.
There had been rumours that Riley, one of Australia’s brightest prospects, could make a switch to represent New Zealand at the senior level. While she had represented the Young Matildas at the youth level, Auckland-born Riley was eligible to represent both nations due. Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni had spoken publicly about his ambition to call her into camp.
However, Riley chose to continue to represent Australia, featured for the Matildas last April. The young striker was subsequently excluded from Gustavsson’s 25-woman June squad against Denmark and Sweden.