Aussie young gun signs with West Ham
West Ham's love affair with Australians has continued, after the London club signed one of Australia's hottest young talents.
Young Matildas star Jacynta Galabadaarachchi has become the first Australian to join the Women's Super League, which is set to explode off the back of England's World Cup success.
Galabadaarachchi, 18, is training with the Hammers after signing a two-year deal and is expected to play her first friendly in a fortnight.
Pakenham-born Galabadaarachchi declared her childhood dreams had been realised, after spending time in her youth with both Manchester clubs and Everton.
"I've been waiting a long time to get signed in England, I've been going back and forth to England since I was eight or nine,'' Galabadaarachchi said.
"It's been a dream of mine to play here but I've always been too young to sign overseas.
"I got my Italian passport and I'm 18 and West Ham got in touch, I like what they offered and they seemed like a good, genuine club.
"I'm very nervous but also excited. So far they've been very welcoming, it's a really good club for me at the moment.
"It's a great time for women's football. It's advancing really quickly, the quality has improved, more people are interested, some games had millions of viewers. It's amazing. It's a really good time to be playing football."
West Ham manager Matt Beard hinted that Galabadaarachchi would play a key role for his team, who made the FA Cup final.
"She has got enormous potential, I am very excited by what she offers. I've seen a lot of young players, and I like working with and developing young players, and she is one of the best I have seen, in terms of ability," Beard said.
"Moving to England from Australia at 18 is a big step for her and we want to help her settle in well, and I'm confident she will have a fantastic first season with us."
Galabadaarachchi, who spent last season with Glory after debuting with City in the W-League, was thrilled to join a club with such rich Aussie connections and hoped it would give her a springboard.
Stan Lazaridis, Lucas Neill, Hayden Fox, Robbie Slater, Chris Coyne, Richie Garcia, Michael Ferrante, Steve Mautone and the late Dylan Tombides all played at West Ham.
"It's awesome. They like Aussies, so that's good,'' she said.
"I just want to keep getting better. This is the start, the kick I've been waiting for to get my career started."