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Arsenal are delighted to announce the return of Kelly Smith and Alex Scott to the club.
The pair, who had been playing their football for Boston Breakers in the Women's Professional Soccer League, return to England following the suspension of the 2012 season in the United States.
Kelly, now coming into her third spell with Arsenal, is one of the most decorated female players in world football. Honoured with an MBE in 2008, the 33-year-old forward has featured in the top five of the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year rankings four times in her 18-year career. For England, she has taken in three European Championships and two World Cups, racking up 45 goals in 111 games for her country along the way.
Kelly has enjoyed significant success in the US with the New Jersey Lady Stallions, Philadelphia Charge, New Jersey Wildcats and Boston Breakers but some of her most prolific years came in her last stint in an Arsenal shirt. Between 2005 and 2009 Kelly featured 112 times for the Gunners, scoring 100 goals to help the team to four league titles, three FA Cups and a European title.
Alex Scott, Kelly's team mate at Boston Breakers, has made an equally impressive contribution to Arsenal since first joining the Centre of Excellence in 1992 at the age of eight.
As well as scoring the match-winning goal in the 2007 UEFA Women's Cup final - which confirmed the Gunners as the first-ever British champions of Europe's elite competition, the 27-year-old full-back has helped the side to nine league titles and seven FA Cups in her 172 senior appearances to date.
Like Kelly, an integral part of the England side, Alex has represented her country 87 times, featuring in two European Championships and two World Cups since making her debut in 2004.
Both players will be eligible to play for Arsenal with immediate effect and will be available for selection for the Gunners' first home game of the season - Wednesday's Champions League quarter final clash with Gothenburg.
Arsenal general manager Vic Akers said: "Kelly and Alex have both grown up with the Club so it feels like they're coming home now and we're delighted to be welcoming them back. They are players of exceptional quality and will be a huge boost to the whole squad ahead of the new season.
"For them to return in time for our FA Cup tie on Sunday and next Wednesday's Champions League match with Gothenburg is a major bonus too. We're really looking forward to seeing the pair back in action in the season ahead."
Manager Laura Harvey believes the signings of Kelly Smith and Alex Scott will provide a major boost for Arsenal. Harvey is delighted to have both players back on board and believes the experience they offer will be crucial this season.
"The younger players had to step up a bit last year and had a lot of pressure at times so to bring in experienced heads like Kelly and Alex will take the pressure off and allow them to flourish a bit more," she told Arsenal Player.
"They have been around training for the past couple of months and the girls have learnt a lot off them. I'm sure they will learn a lot more over the course of the season.
"I'm really pleased to welcome them back. It has been a home from home for them really. To have them back at the Club is fantastic and we hope they can push on from where they left off."
Besides their vast experience, Harvey believes Smith and Scott offer major quality to a squad that go into the new season with a domestic treble to defend. "Alex is a renowned international full back and recently got into the World XI from the World Cup," Harvey said. "She is a modern full back, she loves to bomb on and has high energy levels. She can play higher up the pitch, she's good technically and will offer an experienced head in the defence.
"Kelly speaks for herself really - she is one of the most talented players ever to play the game. It has been tough for her over the past few years with injuries but we hope we can keep her injury-free and give her a platform to finish off her career on a high."
"I am really delighted to have re-signed for the Club that I love and have a passion for," Kelly told Arsenal Player. "Obviously I played for Arsenal for three years before I went Stateside, but I am delighted to be back in the red and white.
"I had a great time in America and it was a good learning experience. Arsenal have changed a bit [since she last played for the Club] and made some new additions but they remain a major force in women's football.
"We are still winning trophies, they won the treble last year when many people expected them to fail at the last. There is experience in the side, and a number of girls who know the system inside and out, so there is a lot of stability.
"The main goal for me now is to win the league. You obviously want to win everything that you enter, but the league is always the main one. It proves you are the best over the course of the season."
Alex, who also had a brief spell with Birmingham City, admitted that the decision to 'come home' was not a difficult one. "There was interest from a couple of clubs in Germany and Sweden," she told Arsenal Player. "Arsenal were on the phone quickly though, and every time that I came back home I normally trained with the club anyway. It was a bit of a no-brainer for me to come back.
"It is a proud moment for me to be back. I have got Arsenal blood running through me, I support the Club and the men's team as well, so it is going to be emotional but a proud day [to pull on the shirt again].
"I think there are more younger girls in the squad than when I was here before, but equally they have the same experience because they are all internationals, whether it is for the Under-23 national team or the senior team.
"They have the hunger and desire to win trophies, so the spirit and winning mentality is still there and that is great."
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