Australian Ellie Carpenter
, the youngest player ever to play in the NWSL, is joining French powerhouse Lyon after two seasons with the Portland Thorns.
Carpenter, who played 33
games in two NWSL seasons, is expected to step in as the starting Lyon right back if English star Lucy Bronze
leaves. She told
the Sydney Morning Herald that Lyon, winner of 14 straight
French titles and the last four UEFA Champions League titles, was the club she always dreamed of playing for.
"For me to be going there now is surreal, and I just can't wait," said
Carpenter, who is 20.
She joins Sam Kerr
(Chelsea) and Caitlin Foord
(Arsenal) who have left NWSL teams for European clubs in 2020. Another Matilda, Steph Catley
recently left OL Reign and has been linked with a move to Arsenal.
"It's really exciting with the majority of us Matildas now heading over to Europe. It's just going to make our team that
much stronger," Carpenter told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Pretty much everyone will be in the top leagues over there, at the top teams, playing Champions League. If all of us are training with the
best players, at the best clubs, with the best facilities, we're going to have the best chance to be one of the best national teams in the world."
Carpenter made her debut for the
W-League's Western Sydney Wanderers in 2015 at the age of 15. She signed with Canberra United in August 2017 and then moved to the NWSL, where she debuted for the Thorns shortly after she turned
“Ellie has been a fantastic member of the Thorns and will always be a part of this special family,” Thorns head coach Mark Parsons
said in a statement. “After
arriving in 2018 as a 17-year-old, she developed tremendously, while always staying true to her strengths and her own identity. I know everyone will join me in wishing Ellie all the very best in her