Matildas star Ellie Carpenter has a signed a major deal with French club Olympique Lyonnais, in what is arguably the most significant club transfer made by an Australian football player – male or female – ever.
Lyon is the most dominant women’s club in the world, boasting the best talent, winning record, resources and pay in the women’s game.
Lyon hs claimed fourteen consecutive titles in France’s top division and won the UEFA Women’s Champions League six times, including the last four in a row. The club is home to many international football superstars including Ada Hegerberg, Dzsenifer Maroszán, Wendie Renard, Saki Kumagai and Lucy Bronze. And now Carpenter will become the only Australian among their ranks.
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Carpenter’s transfer to Lyon is an extraordinary feat for the 20-year-old, even surpassing major deals made by fellow Matildas stars Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord, who have recently signed with Chelsea and Arsenal, respectively.
And although many other Australian players have made the switch to European clubs over the course of their careers, including legends like Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill, none have headed to a club more dominant.
As Samantha Lewis wrote in The Guardian, “If we are to draw equivalences, there is no Australian male player who has achieved a similar feat; there is no Socceroo at Real Madrid or Barcelona, and perhaps there never will be.”
It’s been a rapid rise to the top of football for 20-year-old Carpenter, who made her W-League debut only 5 years ago, at just 15 years of age, playing for the Western Sydney Wanderers.
At 16, she was picked for Australia’s national side and played her first international against Vietnam at the 2016 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in Japan. The same year, she was named the youngest athlete in the Australian Olympic team.
In 2018, she joined U.S club Portland Thorns and became the youngest player to score in the history of the NWSL in the U.S.
Carpenter is set to join Lyon following the opening of the transfer window and pending a medical.
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