Southampton FC Women are delighted to sign New Zealand international Ashleigh Ward from London side Actonians.
The left-back started her career playing for Canterbury United Pride in her home country, winning the 2014 and 2016 Women’s National League - the highest level of women’s football in New Zealand.
A brief spell in the United States saw Ward play for Boston Eagles Women’s Soccer in the NCAA - Division I.
Following her time in the US, the 27-year-old made the move to England, taking a break from football to undertake her degree at Lincoln University, working as a strength and conditioning coach for the Women’s Rugby team alongside her studies.
A return to football in 2018 saw her join London club Actonians, competing in the FA Women’s National League South East. Ward captained the side to the final of the 2021 Capital Women’s Cup, losing to Queen’s Park Rangers, while continuing to teach full time.
Ward has also represented the Football Ferns in international competition, making her senior debut for in 2021 against South Korea after representing both the under-20 and under-17 New Zealand sides earlier in her career.
On her arrival at Southampton FC Women, Ward commented:
“I’m very excited to be here, get in with the girls and get started. It’s an opportunity that I never thought I’d have.
“I saw the development and progression that Saints had in the women’s game and I was excited to be part of that journey and help with that, as well as see myself develop in my footballing career as well.”
Bolstering her team further, Head of Women’s and Girls’ Football Marieanne Spacey-Cale was quick to pick out some of the traits that made Ward such an exciting addition to the side:
“Ashleigh’s going to be a real addition. She’s such a dedicated, passionate, committed person whatever she does.
“It’s great to get a left footed player - they’re such a premium in the women’s game, so it’s great to get a naturally left sided player into the squad.
“She will definitely bring a passion, commitment and desire because she’s gone through so much in her career already that she’s now living her dream and she’ll want to maximise the opportunity and embrace it the very best way she can.”