West Ham United Ladies are delighted to announce the signings of Dutch duo Esmee De Graaf and Lucienne Reichardt.
Striker De Graaf joins West Ham from PEC Zwolle after she spent three years at the club, during which she broke in to the Netherlands international side.
“It’s great to be here,” a delighted De Graaf told whufc.com. “There’s a fantastic atmosphere at West Ham. The training facilities are fantastic, all the girls are lovely, and the staff are brilliant too. I’m thrilled to be here.”
Midfielder Reichardt moves to east London from Ajax, after two years with the current Eredivisie Vrouwen champions.
Reichardt said: “It’s a great pleasure to sign for a club as big as West Ham United. I’m really excited to get going and I’m looking forward to playing for the Hammers.”
Despite being just 20 years old, De Graaf has collected two international appearances for the Netherlands and was part of the squad that lifted the Algarve Cup earlier this year.
The forward is optimistic that her experience at international level will show for her new team.
De Graaf continued: “Hopefully my international experience can help. I have two caps right now and I have learned a lot from my teammates, who are the European champions. Hopefully, that experience will only benefit West Ham.
“I like to think I’m a very fast forward. I like to run with the ball and I’m hopeful I will score many goals this season.”
Reichardt will form part of head coach Matt Beard’s midfield and she explained what West Ham fans can expect from her.
“I am a defensive midfielder and I try to play with intelligence. I can see the positions and move the ball from left to right so I’m a bit more of a playmaker, I can also do the defensive work in front of the defenders.”
Reichardt has won seven trophies during her time in Holland, winning the KNVB Trophy on four occasions and lifting the Eredivisie Vrouwen three times.
The 27-year-old will be looking to continue her trophy success with West Ham, sighting European football as her target for the Club.
“It would be great if the club can reach Europe,” Reichardt continued. “I think West Ham is really focused on wanting to be the best and to reach the top in a few years.
“I think, with a good start, anything can happen. I can already tell that this side has a winning mentality.”
With both players swapping the Netherlands for England, the pair are already forming a strong bond. The Dutch duo are certain this friendship will benefit them both, and the team, on and off the pitch.
Reichardt said: “It’s nice that’s Esmee is also Dutch. We can speak Dutch when we’re at the hotel or in our room, and we can help each other if we don’t understand something, so that’s nice. We’re both going to English lessons, so we hope to make progress and speak the language better.
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