Arsenal have signed 24-year-old American goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese from HB Koge.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Kaylan Marckese of HB Koge and Lia Walti of Arsenal after the UEFA Women's Champions League group C match between Arsenal WFC and HB Koge at Meadow Park on November 17, 2021 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 17: Kaylan Marckese of HB Koge and Lia Walti of Arsenal after the UEFA Women’s Champions League group C match between Arsenal WFC and HB Koge at Meadow Park on November 17, 2021 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Arsenal women have made their first signing of the summer with the arrival of 24-year-old American goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese from HB Koge, who comes into the club after Lydia Williams left for PSG at the end of her contract.

Youngsters Natalia Negri and Hermione Cull have also left the club.

Speaking to Arsenal.com after the announcement, Marckese, Arsenal’s second American keeper brought in this summer, admitted that signing for Arsenal was a dream come true.

“I don’t think it’s really settled in yet,” Marckese said, “but it’s like a dream come true.

“Like a dream that has always been there, but you didn’t really recognise until it’s actually in the works.

“I’ll start calling it my home and maybe it’ll start feeling like it soon.”

Kaylan Marckese via Arsenal.com
Kaylan Marckese via Arsenal.com

Marckese comes with an excellent pedigree having won the Danish League in the last two seasons with HB Koge.

Her stats are interesting, especially in the Champions League, where she has conceded a lot of goals, but that does not reflect on her shot-stopping ability and is more a reflection of the overall quality of the team she was playing for.

Asked about how the transfer came about, Marckese pointed to her performance against Arsenal for HB Koge in the Champions League last season, where she certainly impressed.

“I guess it probably initially started in the Champions League last year when HB Koge was able to play Arsenal in two matches in the group stages, so thankfully that happens because I think that kind of, you know, initially set maybe some curiosity and interest because I feel like I had some pretty decent performances in those group stages, especially against Arsenal,” she explained.

“So maybe that kind of set the ball rolling a little bit, and then yeah, about like two months ago, I just woke up to a text from my agent that said ‘Arsenal has interest’, I shot out of bed, and a couple hours later when he finally woke up later, time changed and everything, he was like ‘real interest’, so obviously all that kind of stuff takes some time and it didn’t realistically start happening until maybe about a month ago, and then obviously that kind of happened very, very quickly in the end, but the interest part had sparked maybe a couple months ago and probably in the middle of middle of the season.

“Yeah, that was insane [finding out Arsenal were interested] because you know, at first it was, my dad too was like ‘this is just a great acknowledgement of how well you’ve been doing and how far you’ve come’.

“Like even if there’s no actual transfer or contract to be signed, like a club with the level that Arsenal plays at has recognised you to be a strong talent, and so that’s kind of what it was at the beginning.

“‘Well, wow. Thank you. That’s such an honour that there’s interest’ and now it’s like, wow, now they want me to wear the crest and play on that pitch every day and walk into this facility every day with that badge and to represent the club, and that just raises it to a whole other level of it just being an absolute privilege to be in north London.

“It’s unreal. I mean, I’m a little bit confused on where to go and hopefully I’ll have a little buddy to guide me around a little bit, but just to be integrated into the men’s and the academies, like it is one club, it’s one location, and you know, to even to be able to get it kind of when the men’s team and the academy are gone on their trips, to see it at its peacefulness, I’m excited to see it when it’s all bustling and moving and get to see how it is in action, and just to see all of the amazing amenities and benefits that the training ground provides and actually be able to use them instead of just look at them!”

Marckese then explained her own journey that has led her to Arsenal. “Yeah, so I guess it started probably with my youth club teams, mostly Tampa bay United, where I’m from in St. Petersburg, Florida, so I grew up on that team.

“That’s where I became a goalkeeper, started developing my talent, recruited to play in college at the University of Florida for four years, and then after that, I grew into a position where I was drafted by Sky blue FC, which is now known as Gotham in New Jersey in the NWSL.

“And so that was my first introduction to the professional leagues and I wasn’t quite ready for that level in that environment, so I went and got some playing time in Iceland, a team called Selfoss, that was COVID time, so a bit of a bit of a crazy year, that one was, just personally and professionally for everybody in the world.

“But then I really found a good place at HB Koge in Denmark over the last year and a half, just to really grow in development and also have a place where I could kind of solidify more my style as a goalkeeper, which has been just a big confidence boost to be able to get to a place now where I’m like, I’m ready, I’m ready to go to England, which has always been a dream of mine to play in England and for a club like Arsenal.

“It’s just the daily challenge to go on that pitch with those players every single day and get better every single day. You know, even before match day rolls around, I feel like I’m at a place where I’m ready and I’m confident to come in and push the girls to be better, and get pushed by them, which, you know, I’ve already seen.

“Katie McCabe already made me jump into that gym session for 20 seconds or whatever it was, so I’m buzzing to get actually out there with them and just improve and get better as a goalkeeper.”

Speaking about the signing, Arsenal manager, Jonas Eidevall, said, “Kaylan is an excellent goalkeeper who will bring real quality to our squad. Her performances over the past two years in Denmark show that she is ready for the challenge of playing in England and we feel that Arsenal is the right place for her to kick on. We welcome Kaylan to the club and look forward to working together this season.”

Head of Women’s Football Clare Wheatley said: “We’re delighted to have secured the signing of Kaylan. She has built up strong experience in European football over the last few years and will bring added quality and competition to our squad ahead of the new season. We all look forward to seeing her in an Arsenal jersey soon.”

Kaylan will wear the No.18 shirt.

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