Friday 2 January 2015

MCWFC sign Demi Stokes

Manchester City Women are delighted to announce the signing of left-sided full-back Demi Stokes on a three-year deal.

The 23-year-old joins the club from the South Florida Bulls, having started her senior career with Sunderland aged just 16.

She follows in the footsteps of Lucy Bronze and Jennifer Beattie in making the move to Manchester, as Nick Cushing continues to strengthen his side ahead of the 2015 season.

Eager to embark on a new challenge and a new chapter in her life, Stokes is thrilled to join a club she feels is leading the way in encouraging the rise of women's football.

"It feels great to be here," she smiled. "It sounds very cliché but it's a dream come true to go professional. It's something I've always wanted to do and to do it with a club like City is really exciting.

"I put my cards on the table and asked myself what would help me become a better player and where I could go to help a team improve. I did talk to people at the club but it was my decision.

"If someone would have told me a few years ago I'd be in this position, I probably would have laughed at them! It's amazing how the women's game has grown and the support it has received is helping that go forward.

"The facilities here are second to none. It's great that the women's game is getting recognition and being looked after exactly how the men's game is.

"It's an exciting time to be here. Last season, the team won the Continental Cup. We want to win that again next season, go for the title and be the best team there is."

Born in South Shields, Stokes signed for Sunderland's youth team at the age of eight and went on to make her senior debut in 2007. She played a part in the side that secured the FA Women's Premier League Northern Division and reached the final of the FA Women's Cup in 2009 - a feat she still regards as a career highlight.

She remained at the North East outfit before accepting a four-year scholarship to the University of South Florida in 2011. The following year, she made 13 appearances for Canada's Vancouver Whitecaps before continuing her career with her college side.

The youngster tasted success on the international stage, having lifted the 2009 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship alongside Bronze, Toni Duggan and Isobel Christiansen. She also captained Great Britain to a gold medal in the 2013 Summer Universiade in Russia.

She made her senior debut for England in January 2014 and has since made ten appearances for the Three Lionesses, scoring once.

City boss Cushing could not hide his delight when discussing the topic of his latest capture, declaring: "Demi is a really important signing for us and one we highlighted our desire to complete very early on.

"Last season, we played the whole season without a left-footed left-back. The players who played there - Emma Lipman, Abbie McManus and Georgia Brougham - did an unbelievable job playing out of position and giving us the style we wanted but we knew our first real need was to get someone of Demi's ability.

"She was our number one target, we're really pleased to add her to the squad and I'm sure she'll improve us from the off."