Hayley Raso’s dashing forays down the flanks at the Olympic Games has not gone unnoticed with the Matilda earning a two-year deal with Manchester City in the FA Women’s Super League.
City announced on Wednesday they were signing the 26-year-old winger after her time at fellow UK rivals Everton came to an end last season.
Raso was one of coach Tony Gustavsson’s shining lights in Tokyo as the Matilda’s agonisingly missed out on a bronze medal.
Her electrifying runs and defence-splitting crosses kept the team in a hunt for a medal throughout as she enjoyed a stellar campaign alongside striker Sam Kerr and goalkeeper Teagan Micah.
“She has proven her ability and versatility in the FAWSL over the last couple of seasons with Everton and also brings lots of international experience to the table,” said City head coach Gareth Taylor.
“She impressed during the recent Olympic Games too and we’re really looking forward to working with her over the next few years.”
The 26-year-old Queenslander said she was excited to be at such a big club and couldn’t resist the chance of playing Champions League football.
“It feels amazing,” Raso told CITY tv. “Having played in the WSL last season, I really liked the league – it’s very tough and competitive and being able to come to a team like City who are up there fighting for all the trophies and playing in the Champions League, it’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
“Personally, I feel like I can fit in well with the team’s style of play – when I met with Gareth he spoke so highly of the club and squad as a whole, and I knew that it was definitely the place I wanted to be.
“As a footballer that’s the pinnacle – you want to be playing in the Champions League so for me coming to a club like this who play in the Champions League and competes for trophies is definitely something that drew me to coming here.”
Raso, who lifted W-League titles with Brisbane and Canberra, also enjoyed a successful stint with Portland in the United States where she secured the NWSL Championship and Shield.
She was named Rose City Riveters’ Most Valuable Player in 2017, but didn’t think twice before mentioning the Matildas’ just-completed Olympics campaign as her career highlight.
“Just going to the Olympics, it was such an incredible experience,” Raso added.
“We went in as underdogs but when we got there we played really well. We worked together so well and went quite far so it was great and something I’d remember for a long time.”