National women’s champions Eastern Suburbs have announced six new signings, including two imports from Japan and three from local rivals Western Springs.
The signings come as the LilyWhites prepare for the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League, which starts at the weekend, with Suburbs playing Auckland United on Sunday.
This year’s WPL will produce the Northern qualifiers for an expanded 10-team national league due to start late this year.
READ MORE: Women’s National League to expand to 10 teams for 2023 season >>>>
Roaming full back Sophia Dyer (26) heads up the signings from cross-town rivals Western Springs. Others are youngsters Lola Wood (18) and Jo Sargisson (16).
Suburbs beat Springs 4-0 in December’s grand final of the national league, and Springs are expected to be among this year’s title challengers.
Main photo: Suburbs take the national title at Mt Smart Stadium in December.Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
READ MORE: National champions! Eastern Suburbs take title with slick display in Grand Final >>>>
The incoming Japanese players are Yukino Nishizono and Aya Sumitoko.
Nishizono (27) played for Diavorosso Hiroshima, a club that plays in Japan’s Nadeshiko League Division 2, a semi-professional league.
Sumitoko (24) played for Diosa Izumo FC, a club that plays in the Chugoku League, in the fifth tier of Japan’s women’s football pyramid.
The sixth signing is Kate Williamson (18) who steps up to the Premier League after moving from Fencibles United and having previously played for Bucklands Beach.
Suburbs go into the new season with Football Ferns Tayla O’Brien — last year’s national league Golden Boot winner — and dynamo Deven Jackson.
Missing from the announced squad list are last year’s captain, Rebekah van Dort, former Golden Boot winner Jade Parris and former age group international defender Kate Carlton.
Van Dort (25) has headed to Canada to play for Ontario League 1 club Electric City. She had play more than 150 games for Suburbs.
Ashley Vincent, Caelan Tremain, Tayla O’Brien, Juliette Lucas, Aimee Atkins, Kenya Brooke, Olivia Page, Nicole Cooper, Saki Yoshida, Kate Williamson, Sophia Dyer, Yukino Nishizono, Aya Sumitoku, Zoe Benson, Nicole Mettam, Deven Jackson, Lexie Sheed, Olivia Erskine, Lola Wood, Laney Strachan, Arya Blackler, Jo Sargisson, Annie Byrne, Ella Findlay, Rachel Head, Charlotte Wilford-Carroll.
Coach: Stephen Hoyle.
Assistant coaches: Aaron Mcfarland, Jaiden Van Der Hiejden and Brock Radich.
Strength and conditioning coach: Sunz Singh.
Physio: Maisie Kilner.
Manager: Dani Briggs.
Manager: Szu Te Wong
Game to be played on Friday March 24, 2023
Western Springs v Hibiscus Coast
Seddon Fields, Auckland, 7.30 pm
Game to be played on Saturday March 25, 2023
West Coast Rangers v Hamilton Wanderers
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, 12.30 pm
Games to be played on Sunday March 26, 2023
Eastern Suburbs v Auckland United
Ngahue Reserve, Auckland, 1 pm
Ellerslie v Northern Rovers
Michael’s Ave Reserve, Auckland, 3 pm