Goalkeeper Aditi set for second stint with West Ham Ladies

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Kolkata Sep 24 (IANS) Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan, who became the first Indian woman footballer to play for an English club last August, is all set for a second stint with West Ham Ladies on Sunday.

“It feels great to be back. It was difficult in India. I always wanted to be here and play. I am happy I can do that again,” Aditi told IANS over phone from London on Saturday.

Eight months after donning the West Ham Ladies jersey for the last time before her student visa expired, Aditi will be under the bar when West Ham take on Swindon Town in an English Premier League Southern Division clash on Sunday.

Aditi, 24, was abruptly halted in her unprecedented journey in England when her student visa expired in January and she had to abide by the rules of English football’s governing body — a player on a student visa cannot play in the top two tiers of women’s football.

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The Delhi keeper, who bagged the Asian Woman Footballer of the Year award in November 2015 — also a first for Indian eves — had to come back home.

But thanks to her alma mater Loughborough University which offered her a part-time job in London, Aditi could again harbour hopes of a comeback. She did her master’s degree in sports management from the university.

“The new manager is very experienced and has won the Premier League (third division in the women’s pyramid) with Brighton and Hove Albion. The goalkeeping coach is really good too.

“I know I have improved in every training session,” she added.

James Marrs, now coach of West Ham Ladies, helped Brighton and Hove Albion become Women’s Premier League champions at Adams Park in May this year with a 4-2 play-off win over Northern Division winners Sporting Club Albion.

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West Ham Ladies are now placed second from bottom in the 11-team southern division of the EPL.

The Hammers have failed to essay a win after five matches and only have one point to show. The London side will hope Aditi helps them improve their dismal goal difference of -12.

“I was waiting for my international clearance. Now I am raring to go,” the South Asian Games winner said.



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