Arnold ‘really excited’ to be part of West Ham Women’s squad
PUBLISHED: 16:30 16 July 2020
West Ham Women’s summer signing Mackenzie Arnold says it’s ‘really exciting’ to have signed for the club.
Arnold signed for the east London side from Australian club Brisbane Roar, becoming Matt Beard’s first new face of the summer.
A three-time winner of the W-League Goalkeeper of the Year award, Arnold was born on the Gold Coast, Queensland and began her professional career as a teenager with Perth Glory before switching to then-champions Canberra United in 2012.
The 26-year-old trained with her new club for the first time on Tuesday as West Ham stepped up their preparations ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Arnold received her first call-up to the Australian national team for a tour of the United States in 2012 and made her debut in November that year, keeping a clean sheet in a win over Chinese Taipei in the 2013 EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup preliminary round.
she told whufc.com. “It’s been a while since the boots and the gloves have been on, but it was good to get out there and meet all the girls and have a kickaround.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I’m just really excited to be here. I’ve heard a lot about the club, the history and the incredible fans, so I’m just excited to get into it and among them all and be a part of it.
“The other girls are really cool. They were really welcoming and a good time on the pitch. I’m sure it will get serious, but it’s been good!
“I lived with Courtney [Brosnan] for the first couple of days, so we’ve got to know each other in quarantine, and meeting and working with Billy [Stewart, goalkeeping coach] for the first time was good too.”
In joining the Hammers, Arnold becomes the latest Australian to make the switch to the Barclays FA WSL, following the likes of club teammate Jacynta Galabadaarachchi, Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, and Lydia Williams, Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley at Arsenal.
“I think there’s five or six of us that have made the move now and it’s cool that most of us are in London so it’s good to have them, as friends, around too,” she added.
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“I’m sure the rivalries will kick in soon enough, though!”
Meanwhile, 18-year-olds Maisy Barker and Angie Dunbar-Bonnie were invited to their first training session with the first team as they begin life on a dual-career pathway with West Ham United and the University of East London.
“This first day of pre-season was really enjoyable,” said Barker.
“You can tell just how much the coaches want you to improve everything about your game and your position and your fitness. It was a really good first couple of days.
“Matt is an amazing coach as well. It’s different between coaches and you can tell that he takes care when it comes to every single player in terms of how he can help them improve individually. He’s been giving me loads of tips on my positioning as a full-back.
“It’s very important for a player to have that and, for me personally, I think he’s going to be an amazing coach for us as young players to help us develop.”
The programme, for 16 to 20-year-olds, offers young footballers access to a full programme of off-field performance services support, as well as the very best preparation on the field.
“The opportunity given to us through this pathway is second to none,” added Dunbar-Bonnie. “You can trust that the club, and UEL, have your best interests at heart both on and off the pitch. That’s the really important thing.
“It’s not just about the football, it’s the stuff away from it too. That inspired me to come here.”
Barker and Dunbar-Bonnie are looking to make the most of their time with the Irons and under the guidance of the women’s coaching team and the educational staff at UEL.
Barker added: “I’m just hoping to develop as a person and as a player and keep learning from the amazing players here. Hopefully I can prove myself to Matt and the other staff that I can be the best player I can and break into the first team.”
Dunbar-Bonnie said: “I hope to earn Matt’s trust and keep improving and getting better with every session.”
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