West Ham Ladies strengthened their squad in January, as manager Marc Nurse made three signings. Lauren Picton joined from Tottenham Hotspur and Liz Berkeley made the switch from Millwall, while Ilona Dronne and Claire Lallart made the move to east London from French giants Paris Saint-Germain and Toulouse.
However, the most intriguing was the signing of Cindy Ferreira, who had been playing in her homeland of France for VGA Saint Maur. Boss Nurse believes the deals will take the club to the next level. ‘I am happy to have signed three players in January, these signings will improve the current squad,’ he said. ‘I have signed Lauren and she is now hoping to be my number one keeper
‘Lauren was at West Ham United Ladies and played at youth level, before moving to Tottenham. ‘Liz comes from WSL 2 side Millwall. She is an exciting player with great pace and is very strong and athletic. She is a fantastic addition to the squad. Cindy is a player that I have been looking at for a while and I am really pleased to have her here. She is a forward and I am looking forward to working with her. She played at the highest level in France Division 1 club VGA Saint Maur.’
The Hammers faced competition for Ferreira’s signature, with Charlton Athletic also interested, but the striker admits that there was only one place she wanted to be once she knew of the Hammers interest. ‘I’m really happy to sign for West Ham,’ said Ferreira. ‘It’s a really famous team with such an important history. It’s a new experience for me in a different country with a different culture.
‘It was difficult when I signed for West Ham but I know that I have everybody like my family and my friends behind me.’ Ferreira had to wait longer than she may have expected to make her debut, as an FA Women’s Cup second round tie at Crystal Palace was called off just four days aft er her move to England – and again on January 17.
Then a Women’s Ryman Cup semi-final tie with Tottenham Hotspur was also postponed. On the plus side, that has given Ferreira more time to train and bond with her new teammates. However, the striker admits that she is still finding it difficult to Talent: Cindy Ferreira has played at a high level in France DANNY RUST @Danny_Rust10 communicate with the rest of the squad. ‘It’s difficult because I don’t speak English,’ she admitted. ‘I am trying to adapt myself to the team and the life as fast as possible.’
Having played at a higher level in her native France, Ferreira is hoping to make an impact in the West Ham Ladies side. She impressed at VGA Saint Maur, and her former club sent a good luck message via Twitter when the move was confirmed. Now Ferreira is confident that she will make an impact in England.
‘I have experience from playing at a high level in France,’ added Ferreira.’ I bring that experience with me. I will try to benefit for all the team.’ Although fixtures were called off, the Hammers did eventually advance in one of the competitions.
West Ham lost 5-0 in the rescheduled Women’s Ryman Cup semi-final tie away to Tottenham Hotspur, but they came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the FA Women’s Cup second round thanks to goals from Romina Pinna and Whitney Locke. West Ham Ladies have been handed a home tie against Nuneaton Town or Blackburn Rovers in the FA Women’s Cup third round
Looking ahead, the Irons will will take on Queens Park Rangers, and Coventry City a week later. The West Ham Ladies will be hoping to gain maximum points, as they currently sit down in eighth in the FA Women’s Premier League South.