Ellie Carpenter signs for women's soccer giants Lyon

ON THE MOVE: Western NSW junior Ellie Carpenter has signed for Lyon. Photo: JONATHAN CARROLL
ON THE MOVE: Western NSW junior Ellie Carpenter has signed for Lyon. Photo: JONATHAN CARROLL

She once played on the football fields of the Central West, but now Ellie Carpenter has signed a contract to take her to one of the most dominant clubs in the world.

News broke in the early hours of Thursday morning that Carpenter, a Cowra native and former Western NSW FC junior, had signed for French giants Lyon.

Carpenter had previously been contracted to American side Portland Thorns and she took to the club's website to thank them for the role it has played in helping her develop as a footballer.

"The Thorns have played an extremely important role in helping me grow and develop as a player over the past two years, and I am grateful to everyone who invested in me during my time in Portland," she said.

"I am proud to have been part of this club and want to thank Gavin [Wilkinson, general manager], Mark [Parsons, head coach], the staff and my teammates for helping me get where I am today."

Lyon play in the Division 1 Feminine, the top flight competition in France and the club has dominated the league, winning the past 14 titles.

Lyon has also won the past four UEFA Women's Champions League, arguably the strongest women's club competition in the world.

And looking at Carpenter's new teammates, you can understand why Lyon have been so dominant in recent years.

Lyon's most notable player is Ada Hegerberg, a Norwegian international, who was rated the best European player in 2016 and was named the first ever recipient of the Ballon d'Or Feminin in 2018.

Lyon are also captained by French 120-game veteran Wendie Renard, while French captain Amandine Henry plies her trade at the club.

Carpenter left the Central West when she was 12-years-old - when she was a year 6 student at Mulyan Public School - in order to chase her football dreams and there's no doubt that her bold decision has paid off.

She started her W-League career at just 15-years-old, playing for the Western Sydney Wanderers from 2015-2016, with her pace and tenacity on the ball catching the attention of the national team selectors.

By the age of 16, the teenager earned her first call up and made her debut against Vietnam at the 2016 AFC Women's Olympic qualifiers in Japan and that same year saw she was named as the youngest athlete in the Australian Olympic team, before making her Olympic debut.

From the Wanderers, Carpenter went to Canberra United, playing at the ACT-based club from 2017-2019.

In the meantime, Carpenter would sign for the Portland Thorns in 2018 and she would become the youngest player to take to the field and score in America's National Women's Soccer League.

In 2019, she left Canberra to make Portland her only club, before being loaned to Melbourne City, where she won her first ever W-League back in March, just before the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of all major sport in Australia.

Carpenter played in all four of the Matildas' games at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France and has a played a total of 42 games for her country, scoring just the one goal back in 2017 against China.

She will join the star-studded Lyon squad following the opening of the transfer window and pending a medical.