Crystal Palace Women raid rivals Charlton for Leigh Nicol

BY JOSHUA BUNTING

Crystal Palace Women have completed the signing of Leigh Nicol from Championship rivals Charlton Athletic.

The 24-year-old has also represented Millwall Lionesses and picked up their Player of the Year award in 2017.

She has represented Scotland at every youth level, including being involved in the famous 7-3 and 14-1 U19 victories over Italy and Georgia respectively and also captained Celtic at youth level.

She then moved to London from Glasgow to secure a place at Arsenal’s prestigious academy where she could continue her education whilst training and playing for Arsenal Ladies’ reserve side.

An opportunity to play first-team football opened up when former Arsenal Ladies player Jayne Ludlow became manager of then FA WSL 2 club Reading.

Nicol had some success playing first team football for Reading but after one season she left at the beginning of 2015 to join London Bees to get more first team opportunities before her move to Millwall.

Nicol said:”Signing for Palace is my proudest moment of my career so far.

“After having a year out to focus on myself I never thought this would happen. The club, players and coaches have built an amazing culture and have clear visions to be successful”.

“I’m so excited to be part of this club and have loved every moment so far.”

Manager Dean Davenport said: “Having captained Celtic at U15s, U17s and reserve team level, we’ve added another vocal presence to our squad.

“With Leigh knowing what this league is all about having played for London Bees, Millwall Lionesses and Charlton last season, I have no doubt she will settle in quickly – this is another exciting signing for the season ahead.”

Meanwhile Bianca Baptiste, Ashleigh Goddard and Andria Georgiou have signed new contracts with the South London side.

Georgiou made 18 appearances last season and is heading into her third season with the Eagles whilst Baptiste impressed in her debut campaign.

“Although strengthening with new additions is key to the aims of the club, it’s more important to maintain the core group we have here already,” said Davenport.

“Andria has become a key player for us and Bianca and Ashleigh hit the ground running last season; I’m delighted all three have agreed to continue their journey with us.”

Last season’s top scorer Goddard said: “I’m very proud to be at Palace for another year; I’m excited for the club’s ambitions and look forward to being a part of it.

“We have a great group of girls, motivation is high and the fans are awesome.”


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