[NWSL]Defender Stephanie Catley is the latest young Australian international to join the NWSL, signing with the champion Portland Thorns FC from the Melbourne Victory, which she has captained at the age of 20 to Sunday's W-League Grand Final against Brisbane Roar.
The defender is a two-time winner of the Football Federation of Australia’s Women’s U-20 Player or the Year award, earning the honor in 2012 and 2013, and the 2012-13 W-League Young Player of the Year with Victory. She was a finalist for the Professional Footballers Association Female Footballer of the Year award in 2013.
“Steph will be a massive addition to our squad,” said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley. “She will bring added speed to our back line and has the ability to go end line to end line. She can provide width on the field and has great delivery and provides a physical presence. She is a fantastic signing for the club and her international experience will be extremely valuable in our quest for the title.”
Catley made her professional debut in 2009 for Victory as a 15-year-old. She has played every minute of all 12 W-League games this year.
Four young Matildas joined veteran Lisa De Vanna (Sky Blue FC) in the NWSL last season. Caitlin Foord (Sky Blue FC) was only 18, Samantha Kerr (WNY Flash) was 19, Emily van Egmond (Seattle) was 20 and Kyah Simon (Boston) was 22.