An Arsenal corner flag. Arsenal Women v Everton Ladies WSL football match, Meadow Park, Borehamwood, UK - 21 Apr 2019 Photo: Kate Green for The FA

Experienced Australian international defender joins Arsenal

Arsenal have started off their summer transfer business in style, announcing the signing of Matilda’s vice-captain Steph Catley this morning, as reported by official club media.

A player with great international and domestic footballing experience, Catley joins The Gunners from hometown club Melbourne City, with whom she recently became a 2019/2020 W-League champion. She also came away as the MVP of the Final for her outstanding performance as Melbourne City’s captain, scoring the only goal of the game.

In Catley’s five years at Melbourne City she has certainly racked up the accolades, winning the W-League Championship four times in total and the W-League Premiership twice. She became the club’s captain in 2016, and is their joint record appearance maker, having played 62 times for the W-League’s most successful club. It was here that Catley first met Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro, playing under him for two years as he led Melbourne City to two consecutive league titles.

Alongside her time at Melbourne City, the 26-year-old also plied her trade in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), with spells at Portland Thorns, Orlando Pride and, most recently, Reign FC (now OL Reign). During her time in Orlando she scored The Pride’s first ever NWSL goal, in April 2016, which would go on to be her only goal in that competition.

Internationally, Catley has become a Matilda’s stalwart since her debut in June 2012, at the age of 18. She has since appeared 82 times, netting three goals. She was part of both the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad’s for Australia, as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics Games squad, where she appeared in all four games.

A talented left-back and set-piece specialist, Catley certainly fills an important gap in Arsenal’s squad, with Emma Mitchell set to leave to club and current first choice left-back Katie McCabe a natural winger.

When speaking to Arsenal sources, Catley expressed her delight at getting the move over the line, saying “This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

“I’m so excited that it’s finally done. This will be my first taste of European football and obviously there’s so much to look forward to and so many big occasions to come. I can’t wait to get started.”

The sentiment was echoed by Montemurro who said “We’re privileged to have Steph at the club.

“She suits our fluidity and she’s very good in a positional sense, but more importantly she’s very effective going forwards, so we’re excited to have her as part of the squad and we’re looking forward to some exciting times together!”

By Lauren Coffman (@laurenjsport)

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