New stars set to shine for Glory

The start of the new Westfield W-League season may still be some three months away, but the club’s recruitment drive is very much in full swing.

Despite enjoying a stellar campaign last year which culminated in a Grand Final appearance, Glory have refused to rest on their laurels, instead making a concerted effort to improve the quality and depth of the squad which Head Coach Bobby Despotovski will have at his disposal.

And General Manager Callum Salmon, who has been overseeing the process, is delighted with the progress that has been made.

"We’ve strengthened in areas where Bobby identified a need for improvement," he said, "and we believe we’ve supported his vision for Perth Glory in the upcoming season.

“We’ve signed a number of high-profile foreign players who are currently performing extremely well in America’s National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and also secured the return of some familiar faces from our foreign contingent of previous years.

“One of our new recruits is an international who has scored for her country at a World Cup and I know that she will really excite our fan base next season.

“We’ve made some really good signings and are just putting together one final deal which will see us potentially bring in another current Matilda in a defensive position.”

Due to the fact that they are still contracted to other clubs, Salmon was unable to name the foreign players who will be lining up in purple next term, but he did confirm that Nicola Bolger and Marianna Tabain will be joining them.

“Nicola is a creative midfielder who has been in and around the Matildas squad recently,” he explained, “and Marianna is a former Glory player who has returned from Melbourne City.

“She’s played in the last three Westfield W-League Grand Finals and been on the winning side in two of those. She’s an excellent player who can operate in a variety of different positions across midfield and up front.”

Tabain is, of course, a former teammate of current Glory skipper Sam Kerr whose goalscoring exploits for Sky Blue FC in the NWSL must surely have put every Westfield W-League defender on notice.

“Sam’s in unbelievable form,” said Salmon. “She has just become the NWSL’s record all-time scorer and is definitely one of the best players in the world at the moment.”

In addition to Kerr and the new recruits, many of Glory’s other squad members from last term will be returning and according to Salmon, their recent form has been similarly encouraging.

“We are aiming to retain many players from our highly successful squad last season," he said, "and we are currently in positive discussions with local and interstate players. We have a lot of players currently performing well domestically.

“Caitlin Doeglas is playing for Alamein FC in Melbourne at the moment and has been named in the NPL Victoria Team of the Week six times already this year and then there's Sarah Carroll who will also be back. She had an outstanding season at right-back last year and if she continues to work hard and improve, it’ll be no surprise to the technical staff if her performances are rewarded in the national set-up. Jaymee Gibbons has also put in a number of eye-catching performances and continues to improve in training with our Under-18 NPL boys team."

But despite admitting his excitement at the success of the club’s recruitment drive, Salmon was keen to keep expectations in check when asked what the target is for the campaign ahead.

"At this stage," he said, "Bobby is aiming at the team finishing in the top four as it will be a very difficult league. We’re then looking to go one better in the finals. However, we are taking things step by step.

"We’re really looking forward to the upcoming season.”

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