by Ben Gilby (15/7/22)
Above: Grace Jale pictured ahead of last season with Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.
Football Ferns forward Grace Jale has signed with Canberra United for the 2022/23 A-League Women campaign.
The 23-year-old was the Phoenix women’s top goal scorer in their maiden season, finding the back of the net six times in 12 matches.
Five of her goals came in the Nix’s final six games and led to her being recalled to the Football Ferns after a four-year absence.
Jale featured against the Matildas in April and was also selected in the Ferns squad for last month’s internationals against Norway and Wales.
Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis says Jale needs a new challenge. “We’ve worked with Grace for a number of years, since under-17s onwards, so she’s used to us and now she’s looking to get out of her comfort zone.
“We understand that completely and think it’s a good move for her to check out a different environment and get used to what professional football is without playing for your coaches you’ve known for years and years.”
Lewis reflected on the influence of Jale on her squad last season. “Grace did a really good job for us last year under challenging circumstances and she’s always going to be a part of the Phoenix’s first women’s team. We wish her nothing but the best and we’re excited to see her playing up against us.”
Jale’s arrival at Canberra United today was part of a triple-player announcement from the capital city club. The Greens have also added Grace Taranto who was previously at Adelaide United and Rebecca Burrows. The latter two players have been in impressive form this campaign in the NPLW Victoria competition with South Melbourne and Heidelburg United respectively.
Canberra have previously announced Hayley Taylor-Young, Sasha Grove, Emma Ilijoski, and Nickoletta Flannery in their 2022/23 squad.