1 Sep 2016

Football Ferns keeper signs with top French club

4:00 pm on 1 September 2016

The Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler is to join leading French club Olympique Lyon on a two year deal.

It's a major turn around in fortune for the 24-year-old Aucklander, who has played 44 internationals for the New Zealand women's football team.

In May she joined Sky Blue FC in the United States National Women's Soccer League but was cut just four weeks later without playing a game.

Nayler departed for France on Saturday and is already settling into life in the south of France as she prepares for a big opportunity with a world-class club.

Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler in action against the United States at the Rio Olympics.

Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler in action against the United States at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Photosport

"I'm really happy to be here," Nayler told the Olympique Lyon website. "I just signed with the best team in the world. I'm about to live a great experience. It's great to be here."

Olympique Lyon are the most successful club in the history of Division 1 Féminine with 14 league titles and in recent times have been the team to beat in the UEFA Champions League.

They won the League title three times (2010-11, 2011-12, 2015-16) were Runners-Up twice (2009-10, 2012-13) and also claimed the International Women's Club Championship in 2012 and Valais Cup in 2014.

Football Ferns Head Coach Tony Readings said Nayler's signing rates as one of the biggest transfers a New Zealand women's footballer has made.

"They are one of the biggest powerhouses in women's football," he said.

"If I had to equate it to men's football it would be a Barcelona-type of standard because they've won the Champions League, they're always in and around the final, they're French champions often so it's a massive club with some great players and I think it just shows again the level that this team has moved to now is that we're getting clubs like this looking at our players and it's a great opportunity for Erin," he said.

Nayler is looking forward to working alongside French keeper Sarah Bouhaddi who is regarded by many as the finest goalkeeper in the world.

"There are many players in the France team in Lyon," said Nayler.

"These are great players, very talented. I'll try to learn alongside them. I will work hard and learn a lot to progress."

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