Melbourne City FC has reinforced its Championship-winning Westfield W-League side with the signing of Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy, Japanese international Yukari Kinga and United States youth international Ashley Hatch.
City unveiled Kennedy, Kinga and Hatch at Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square in the heart of the CBD on Wednesday to celebrate the start of the new season, which commences with a blockbuster 2017 Grand Final replay against Perth Glory at nib Stadium in Perth this Friday night.
Kisnorbo’s side will then return to Melbourne for a huge Melbourne Derby in Round 2, giving City fans the first opportunity to watch the Club’s history-making Women’s team in action at AAMI Park next Friday 3 November.
As Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo finalises his squad ahead of the season opener, the women’s team has also recruited 2016 NPL Goalkeeper of the Year Emily Shields, Geelong Galaxy shot-stopper Emily Kenshole and 15-year-old defender Lia Muldeary, taking the squad to 17 players.
After helping City lift consecutive W-League Championships last season, Kisnorbo has assembled a strong mix of established international players and emerging young talent for the team’s title defence.
At just 22 years of age, Kennedy has secured 57 caps for the Matildas, is a former W-League winner with Sydney FC and Perth Glory and won the National Women’s Soccer League with Western New York Flash in 2016 in the United States.
A teammate of fellow City defender Steph Catley at US NWSL side Orlando Pride and at national level with Catley, Kyah Simon, Lydia Williams and Larissa Crummer, Kennedy highlighted the Club’s professionalism as a major attraction.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be here at Melbourne City. To join a Club which has created history in the W-League is exciting and I feel this is the perfect place for me to continue my development as a player.”
“The facilities here at the City Football Academy are incredible and the way the whole club operates together – the integration between the men’s, women’s and youth teams – is first class.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team and learning from such an experienced coach in Patrick. He will push me and challenge myself to be the best player I can be and I can’t wait to get started.”
Kinga, 33, is regarded as one of the best talent’s in Women’s football, having played with FA WSL team Arsenal Ladies in England – winning an FA Womens Cup with the London club – and boasts a glittering resumé that includes over 100 international caps for Japan, a FIFA World Cup winners medal in 2011, and Olympic Games silver medals during a 13-year career.
Commenting on her signing, Kinga, formerly of Canberra United said;
“City provides me with a new and exciting challenge which I am extremely grateful for. I have only been in this environment for a week, but already it has been fantastic to see how the team and the Club is set up so professionally and provides everything a footballer needs to succeed.”
United States youth international Hatch arrives in Melbourne on the back of a break-out season for NWSL Shield winners North Carolina Courage. The 22-year-old tied the league’s rookie record with seven goals during her debut campaign, helping the Courage secure top spot at the end of the regular season.
Kennedy’s contract is subject to international clearance.
Melbourne City FC W-League Squad: Lydia Williams (GK), Yukari Kinga, Lauren Barnes, Steph Catley, Larissa Crummer, Jess Fishlock, Rhali Dobson, Rebekah Stott, Alanna Kennedy, Ashley Hatch, Amy Jackson, Kyah Simon, Tyla-Jay Vlajnic, Emily Shields (GK), Sofia Sakalis, Hayley Richmond, Emily Kenshole (GK)