Anke Preuss had no hesitation in leaving the comfort of one of Germany’s top clubs to take on the “challenge” of English football and becoming Sunderland Ladies’ number one.
Just as long-serving Lady Black Cats keeper Rachael Laws was leaving the club to make the short journey to Durham Women, Sunderland Ladies were making Preuss one of their major signings.
The 24-year-old is relishing her first crack at the Women’s Super League and says her priority is performing well and feels no pressure filling the gloves of the long-serving Laws who spent a decade at her local club.
“Joining a new club is always a challenge,” said Preuss, who was a Champions League winner with Frankfurt in 2015.
“Of course it’s difficult to be as good as her [Laws], but it’s more about me becoming a good keeper for this club.
“I want to look at the future, not looking back at something I wasn’t a part of.
“I am looking to bring my qualities into the team and hope that’s enough.”
Preuss arrived at the Academy of Light as one half of a bold double transfer swoop by head coach Carlton Fairweather and general manager Sonia Kulkarni, Dutch midfielder Dominique Bruinenberg joining her on Wearside.
The players, both 24, have come with impeccable pedigrees with Sunderland showing there is life in the club following the publicity of the re-structuring of the Ladies’ set-up.
Preuss admitted that she could have remained in the Bundesliga but wanted to play in England and snapped up the chance to play for Sunderland in the WSL1 Spring Series – and beyond.
“I’ve always wanted to play to abroad,” said the ex-Germany U20 international, who has signed an 18-month deal with the Lady Black Cats.
“From the beginning I’ve always played in Germany, but I wanted to try somewhere different.
“I wanted to see somewhere new and it is great to have signed for a club like Sunderland.”
Norwegian keeper Hilde Olsen has returned for 2017 as Fairweather’s squad begins to take shape with a number of key players agreeing new deals, including skipper Steph Bannon and fellow defender Hayley Sharp.
Sunderland hope to welcome back American attacker Beverly Leon who spent the latter part of the 2016 WSL season on Wearside.