Following the footsteps of her long term team-mate Carla Humphrey, Leah Williamson has signed her first contract with Arsenal Ladies.
This is Leah’s tenth season at the club as she started with the u9 back in 2006.
It is quite surprising to learn that Arsenal only signed her this season despite playing more than twenty games last year.
As a homegrown player and long-time Arsenal fan, there was could have been no doubt that she would sign for the club but non-contracted players are able to sign any time, for any club, and had an English club offered a big contract last year, she would have been able to leave with only a small fee to be paid as part of the training compensation decided by FIFA.
Leah was named the England Youth player of the year 2014, and has captained the u15 and u17 sides.
She played in last year’s u20 World Cup in Canada then was called up for the u23 squad in June, with a senior call-up surely not far away for the 18-year-old.
The World Cup in June might come too early but the Euros 2017 in Netherlands is a real possibility.
Former manager Shelley Kerr must be credited for trusting the youngster and giving her plenty of game time at the tender age of 17. Leah started the 2013/14 season with the development team, captained the u17 side at the Euros that were played in November and December in England and then was promoted to the first team while still eligible to play for Arsenal Ladies u17 side.
The midfielder played 13 league games last season, starting 11 of them and scoring one goal.
She started all seven games in the FA WSL Continental Cup, also scoring one goal whilst she also came on as a sub in the UEFA Women’s Champions League second leg against Birmingham five days before her seventeenth birthday last season.
She started the three games leading to the FA Cup final and came on as a sub at her home ground at Milton Keynes Stadium where she helped Arsenal beat Everton. She was also part of the successful u17 side that won the FA Girls Youth Cup in May 2013 alongside current FA WSL players like Molly Bartrip now at Reading, Carla Humphrey, Frances Steele, Vyan Sampson and Taome Oliver.
The final against Blackburn was a home game for Leah as it was also played at MK Stadium.
Great news to have her all signed up.