BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea Women stopper Ann-Katrin Berger has signed a contract extension to keep her at the Blues until the end of the 2024 season, with the club having an option to extend for a further 12 months.
Berger joined the Blues from Birmingham in 2019.
The 30-year-old said: “I’m really happy to stay here for longer. The players, the team and the staff, they make me a better player – so there’s no reason why I should want to go anywhere else.
“I’ve improved with a lot of different things. Stuart [Searle, goalkeeping coach] helps me a lot in small areas. I thought I was good, but he actually gave me more percentage in every single area – both as a goalkeeper and as a person.
“I was surprised that I could improve that much.
“This season is going to be even harder. There is a lot of games, so we have to work harder. We can’t just stay on the same level, we have to go up a gear. We have to do what we do, but even better.”
General manager Paul Green said: “We are delighted to extend Ann’s contract until at least 2024. She’s had a terrific couple of seasons at the club and has played a big part in the team’s recent success.
“Ann’s an important player for us and has proven herself to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world with her performances. We feel that she is now coming into her peak as a goalkeeper and look forward to seeing how she continues to develop her game in the upcoming years.”
Forward Aggie Beever-Jones, 18, signed her first full-time contract earlier this week.
Fans will have to provide evidence, in effect a vaccine passport, that they have had their double Covid-19 jabs or had a recent negative lateral flow test if they want to go to games this season at Stamford Bridge or Kingsmeadow.
Proof of full vaccination should be supplied by the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS app, or a vaccination letter. Supporters displaying a negative lateral flow result should do so on the NHS app, or via a text message or email from NHS Test and Trace.
Chelsea’s men face Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on August 4 in a pre-season friendly before kicking off their Premier League season on August 14 at home to Crystal Palace.
Chelsea women face Everton in the WSL at Kingsmeadow on September 12. Both sides are in friendly action against Arsenal on Sunday at the Emirates.
Chelsea beat Bournemouth 2-1 on the South Coast on Tuesday night with goals from Armando Broja and Ike Ugbo cancelling out Emiliano Marcondes’ header for the Cherries.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel said “It’s a much better feeling to win games and to continue from there, than to lose and worry or be sad and angry.”
A host of players will be elbowed out on loan before the transfer window ends.
Tuchel said:“We need these games to analyse and to judge our players, and to make decisions about the best next steps for them
“There is now a training group of 28 or 29, which is a huge group, and players are coming back in the near future, so we have to make some decisions.”
Another kid has decided his future lies outside of SW6 as defender Dynel Simeu signed for Southampton.
Simeu made 22 appearances last season for Andy Myers’ development squad.
He follows goalkeeper Jamie Cumming, 21, who joins League One outfit Gillingham on loan and Henry Lawrence, who has agreed a season-long loan stay with AFC Wimbledon. Myles Peart-Harries jumped ship last Friday and joined Brentford on a permanent deal.
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