by Sylvain Jamet
Arsenal Ladies have moved quickly to extend Leah Williamson’s contract.
The 18-year-old originally signed her first professional contract back in March and has now been rewarded with a new, improved long-term contract.
Leah had her breakthrough year in 2014 when Shelley Kerr gave her a chance to establish herself in the side as a 17-year-old and has not looked back since.
She has captained England at u17 and u19 level, famously scoring a retaken penalty that sent England through to the u19 Euro finals, where she unfortunately was not involved due to club duty.
Leah has been selected at England u15, u17, u19, u20 and u23 level and is likely to progress to the senior side in the future with captaincy being mentioned as a possibility, so strong are her leadership skills as well as mental strength.
This contract extension shows that the club is committed to giving a chance to the youngsters that came through the set-up; a policy that Pedro Losa is implementing on a regular basis as seen in the Conti Cup games against Watford and London Bees where many development squad and u17 double winners were given a start.
It is also clear that as the FA WSL enters a business era with transfer fees being the norm those days and transfer fees going from (an alleged) £20,000 for a defender to £50,000 for a forward, Arsenal Ladies have to protect their playing assets by tying them to long term contracts.