by Ben Gilby
Perth Glory have continued to boost their squad with around four months to go before the next W-League season kicks off.
In the past week they have announced three further signings with the arrival of highly-rated goalkeeper Courtney Newbon plus midfielders Sarah Cain and Sofia Sakalis.
Newbon, 20, arrives in Western Australia having spent the last two seasons with Western Sydney Wanderers, for whom she made a total of eight W-League appearances.
Regarded as one of the most promising young ‘keepers in the country, she twice claimed the W-League Save of the Week Award last term and is now targeting further success with Glory.
“It’s a new challenge for myself,” she said.
“I want to work hard for the club and hopefully help them build another Premiership-winning team.
“Head coach Alex Epakis is very much in the mind-set of getting the club back up towards the top of the table not just next season, but in the years to come as well.
“So I’m very excited to be joining Glory and can’t wait to get started.”
Epakis, meanwhile, is relishing the prospect of linking up with the shot-stopper once again having previously worked with her during his time at Sydney University.
“We are happy to have Court at Perth Glory for next season,” he said.
“She is joining us after spending two seasons at Western Sydney where she was able to showcase her ability and potential.
“Her shot-stopping and distribution skills are very strong and she is a focused and committed character.
“Despite her age, Courtney has experienced strong levels of success at various levels of the game and is a fantastic addition to our ‘keeper options.
“I look forward to seeing her progress and develop while working very hard to compete and add value to the squad.”
Sarah Cain made six appearances for Melbourne City in what was her maiden W-League campaign last year and is excited at the prospect of opening a new chapter in her career in Western Australia.
“I’ve heard a lot of great things about the environment at Perth,” said Cain.
“I’m also very excited to be working under Alex Epakis because he has such strong plans and aspirations for the team; that’s something I can’t wait to be a part of.
“I want to keep developing as a footballer, be in an environment where I can get the most out of myself as a player and help the team to achieve our goals.”
Australia Under-17 and Under-20 representative Sofia Sakalis (19) has penned a long-term deal having previously represented Melbourne City for whom she debuted in 2017/18.
“I’m super-excited to be joining Perth Glory and working with Alex,” she said.
“His vision and the style of football he wants to play really excited me and I’m eager and ready for a new challenge and a new environment that will allow me to grow into the player I want to become.
“I think Alex is building something exceptional and his long-term vision has really re-ignited my passion for the game.”
Epakis, meanwhile, is thrilled to have the midfield pair on board for 2021/22 and is confident that they will make a major impact in purple.
“Sarah has stood out as someone with great energy and with a strong understanding of her position,” he said.
“She is a very intelligent player with excellent positioning and passing skills which are important attributes in terms of the way we want to play this season.
“I have been tracking her for some time and she certainly has the determination to be part of a progressive environment and help the team succeed.
“I am really looking forward to working with Sarah and am expecting her to be a real asset for the team this season.
“With Sofia, those who have tracked the women’s game over recent years will be very familiar with her attacking talents and overall ability as an attacking midfielder.
“Having been involved in Melbourne City’s W-League set-up since the age of 13, making her W-League debut at 15 and representing Australia across various youth levels, it is clear that she has great qualities.
“Sofia has committed for the next few seasons to our project and is really looking forward to playing a big part in helping the team work towards our goals, as well as evolving and further developing her own game.”
Glory CEO Tony Pignata believes that the trio of new arrivals are yet more new recruits about whom the club’s Members and fans should be excited.
“We are really happy to have signed Courtney, Sarah and Sofia,” he said.
“The fact that we are continuing to secure young talent from across the country clearly illustrates the direction the club is moving in and the squad we are assembling is one which I’m confident will make a major impact in the W-League next season.”