West Ham United women’s team are delighted to confirm the signing of Japan international Riko Ueki.
The 24-year-old forward joins the Club from Japanese WE League side, Tokyo Verdy Beleza, subject to a work permit being granted.
Ueki broke into the Beleza senior team in June 2016, marking her debut with a goal in a League Cup match against Speranza Osaka. Since then, Ueki has been a regular for the side, making over 130 appearances and helping them to successive league titles between 2016 and 2019.
On the international stage, Ueki has 25 caps for Japan, with her breakout year coming in 2022, when she scored eight times in eleven appearances.
The forward featured in every match for her country at this summer’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, scoring against Zambia and grabbing a goal and an assist in an impressive 4-0 win over eventual winners Spain in the group stage.
“West Ham United is a team steeped in history and I’m really happy to be to be signing for such a great Club,” Ueki told West Ham TV. “When I made the decision to join the Club, I felt I needed to test myself in Europe. I think I will be able to improve as a footballer here and in doing so, do my best for the team as well.
“I have been in contact with Honoka [Hayashi] and Risa [Shimizu], and they were both really happy, encouraging and supportive for this move.
“I’m now looking forward to meeting my other teammates and getting started in Claret and Blue.”
Manager Rehanne Skinner also shared her excitement in adding a forward of Ueki’s calibre to the squad.
“Riko is a talented Japanese centre-forward who has had a successful summer with her country at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, being pivotal in her team’s progress throughout the tournament,” she confirmed.
"Riko’s biggest assets from a skillset perspective are the timing of her movement and understanding of the game to try and create goalscoring opportunities.
“Riko has a variety of goalscoring skills, is very energetic and enthusiastic, and will help us to be more effective with our defensive set-up from the front.
“She will form a fantastic part of the forward line within our team and I’m really excited to be working with her moving forwards.”
Everyone at West Ham United would like to welcome Riko and we look forward to seeing her in action during the upcoming season.
Watch Riko Ueki in the women's team's opening Barclays Women's Super League match of the season! Purchase your ticket by clicking on the graphic below!