BROOKE CHAPLEN has become the final piece in the jigsaw after agreeing to become the third Sunderland Ladies signing this year.
The 25-year-old agreed terms at the Stadium of Light yesterday to join Carlton Fairweather’s squad from Everton just ahead of the Women’s Super League 1 start.
What Sunderland are offering their players is brilliant.
Chaplen is a talented attack-minded player, who has become one of a group of full-time Sunderland professionals.
The Portsmouth-born midfielder believes her transfer to the Lady Black Cats will make her a better player as well as boost Sunderland’s hopes of consolidating their place in the top division of women’s football.
“It will be brilliant, both as an individual and as a team,” said Chaplen, who has handed in her notice at an investment company on Merseyside, where she had combined full-time work with playing for Everton.
“As a player, it’s what you always wanted to do, become a full-time professional.
“And, as a squad, it puts you in a position when you can gel and work together more in order to compete against the teams who are already well-established in the league already.
“What Sunderland are offering their players is brilliant.
“You come into the club every day and train full-time. Everyone at the Academy is very accepting of the girls being there.
“The Academy of Light has all the facilities we need to help us grow and improve as individuals and as a team.
“I think it will put us in good stead for the season.”
Chaplen spent seven years at Everton, playing a key role in the success of the Toffees, who played in the Champions League as well as finishing runners-up in the top flight.
She established a good reputation with the Blues and it was a shock when the relegated club allowed her to leave.
But there was no bitterness from the player who is now looking forward to wearing the red and white number 19 jersey.
She can play anywhere down the right though her favoured position is just behind the main striker.
“My years at Everton were brilliant. I played at a great club and under some fantastic coaches,” she said. “It’s because of Everton I’ve become the player I am today, especially with coaching from Mo Marley.
“Unfortunately, this year Everton have found themselves in a different position to what the club has been used to.
“Everton have always competed at the top, but other clubs have caught them up and some have gone full-time which has made it harder for them. The club have had to have a bit of a re-structure and had to think about what’s best for them going forward in the league below and that’s fine.
“I have a new future to look forward to at Sunderland. I’ve trained here a few times and all the players are really good and funny girls.
“It’s going to be an entertaining year. They have made me feel very welcome.
“I’m now looking forward to now being here on a full-time basis and getting stuck in to the season.”