New Glory attacker nearly signed for English heavyweights

Promising youngster Jacynta Galabadaarachchi has revealed she came close to joining a raft of big English clubs before signing with Perth Glory on Friday.

The Young Matildas representative will head to the West having started her senior career with Melbourne City in the 2016/17 Season.

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Galabadaarachchi spent much of last year training with a number of prominent clubs in England before agreeing terms with Bobby Despotovski's side.

"I've been going back and forth to England since I was about nine because I have an auntie who lives there," she explained.

"Most recently I went over to train with Everton, Manchester City and Arsenal and all three clubs offered me the opportunity to sign, but because I'm still under 18 it's not possible for me to sign a pro contract there yet.

"It was a really good experience seeing how the women play over there, though."

The 17-year-old arrives at Perth armed with plenty of positives from her maiden Westfield W-League campaign with champions City.

"That season was one of the first in which I've actually played with women because I've always played with boys since I was six years old," she explained.

"So it was a different environment and there were differences in the way the women trained.

"Obviously I wanted to get on the pitch and prove myself, but given the high quality of the players in the squad and the fact that I was only 15 at the time, I understood that it was difficult for them to consider putting me on the pitch.

"But I was glad that I did get at least some game time."

Jacynta Galabadaarachchi


Despite her limited opportunities with City, Galabadaarachchi's precocious talent did not escape the attention of Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic, who selected her for an international camp ahead of last year's Algarve Cup

"I was so shocked by the call-up that I didn't know how to react! It was a great opportunity to experience the professionalism and intensity that the Matildas have and I felt very lucky to be involved," she recalled

"They all made me feel very welcome, especially the girls that have been in the squad a bit longer."

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Despotovski is certainly looking forward to seeing her showcase her talents in purple.

"Jacynta is a very exciting up-and-coming player and we're hopeful that she'll make a big impact with us," he said.

"She found her opportunities limited at Melbourne City due to the star-studded squad they have there and opted to try her luck in the UK, but when that didn't work out, we snapped her up and it's great to have her on board.

"Like Lexie [Moreno], there's no doubt in my mind that she is a future Matildas player and hopefully we as a club can play our part in her development along that path."