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Bristol Academy boss Willie Kirk has been busy strengthening the squad ahead of the second half of the season, signing seven players and providing current player Georgia Evans with her first professional contract of her career.
Welsh midfielder Georgia Evans has signed her first professional contract for the club. Georgia has been a player at the club since the age of 16 when she joined the SGS college programme. She has progressed through the club from playing college football, into development squad captain and into the first team squad, starting five league games in the first half of the season.
Manager Willie Kirk explains: "After only a week of training, I was keen to get Georgia signed on to a long term professional contract. It's her first pro contract and it's greatly deserved having worked hard over the last few years to come through our college programme and breakthrough into the first team squad."
A key signing for Kirk is midfielder Caroline Weir with 18 senior caps for Scotland makes her move from Arsenal to Bristol Academy. Caroline's move sees her reunited with manager Willie Kirk, who she played under at Hibernian before moving to Arsenal in 2013.
Pleased with the signing, Kirk said: "Caroline is a player that I know very well. I gave her a first team debut at Hibernian when she was 15 and she quickly became a first pick in the team before moving to Arsenal at only 18.
"I have become increasingly frustrated seeing her mostly sit on the bench for two years and as soon as I took the Bristol job, she was my number one target. I am really excited to work with her again and I know that over the next two or three years, the WSL will see a top player emerge.
"She will give us another creative spark in midfield. She can do things with a ball and see things on a park that some players can only dream about. Everyone at Bristol will be raving about her very soon. She is very level headed and will continue to work hard to achieve her ambitions."
The second of the signings revealed today is Hannah Short, who returns to her home club after completing a football scholarship at East Tennessee State University, where she was named in the 2014 Southern Conference All-First Team. Prior to moving to the USA, Hannah represented England in the European Championship Qualifiers at both the U17 and U19 level. Hannah played at Bristol up until the age of 16 when she moved to Arsenal.
"She has been training with us since we arrived back after our break and as her fitness has improved each week, she has looked better and better," explained Kirk.
"Hannah is very ambitious and is looking to catch the eye again after her time overseas. She is a strong and committed centre back and I think that she will become a very important member of our squad." .
There is also the addition of two young players to the WSL1 squad; Hannah Reid and Bulgarian striker Evdokia Popadinova.
Following the departure of Alice Evans to WSL2 team Yeovil Town, Scottish youth international goalkeeper Hannah Reid will join the squad. On signing Reid the manager said: "Hannah is another player that I know from my time at Hibernian. She became my number one at the club in my final season and at 20 years of age, has the potential in my opinion to become Scotland number one in the next few years.
"Evi is a young player with huge potential and determined to succeed. We had her in to train for a few days and immediately extended that by a further week so that we could get a better look at her. She settled into the squad straight away and she is a player that we feel we can shape and develop into a big talent. At 18, she already has several caps for the senior Bulgarian team and, given the right environment and opportunities, can be an exciting player in the WSL in the future."
An exciting signing for the Vixens is Jade Boho Sayo, who is a Spanish-born Equatorial Guinean international striker. She will be joining the Vixens for the second half of the season with an ambition to ensure WSL safety with the team. She joins Bristol Academy from Rayo Vallecano in Madrid, where she holds an impressive 55 goal tally for the club. She has a wealth of playing experience including featuring in the UEFA Women's Champions League.
Kirk, delighted with the signing of Jade to BAWFC, said: "She is a top signing for us. She has great international experience at both youth and senior level and has played at the top level in Spain for a number of years.
"She has a very bubbly character and all her team mates have immediately taken a liking to her. She can play in a number of roles up the top end of the pitch and I'm going to enjoy getting the best out of her. She has an infectious energy which also gets the best out of those around her."
Another key player for the second half of the season will be Marije Brummel, an experienced defensive player. She currently holds 27 international caps and has a wealth of experience across club football that she will bring to Bristol Academy. "Marije is exactly the type of player that we needed to bring in for the second half of the season. She has a wealth of experience at international level, has played outside her country before and knows the language."
Last but most certainly not least is Tatiana Pinto who joins the Vixens from Bundesliga club SC Sand, where she has been a player for two seasons. The 21-year-old Portuguese player has Under-19 international caps and will make her WSL debut for Bristol Academy. She developed as a youth across clubs in Portugal before moving to Germany in 2013.
"Tatiana is an exciting young player who is currently on the fringes of the Portuguese National team. She is an ambitious individual and determined to improve as a player and progress her career."
"I think that she will relish the opportunity to train every day here and will be keen to make an impact on the WSL in the second half of the season."
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