Durham sign defender Grace McCatty
Durham sign McCatty

Experienced defender, Grace McCatty has opted for a new challenge in the north east after a decade with Bristol as she’s become Durham’s first signing of 2017.

Wealth of experience

A stalwart of women’s football in England, McCatty is no stranger to WSL, having spent a decade with Bristol City throughout their many incarnations.

Many fans were left shocked when McCatty announced her desire for a new challenge after helping the Vixens earn promotion back to WSL 1 at the first time of asking this year. A move from the south west to the north east no bigger certainly ticking a geographical box.

Having moved from a relatively inexperienced Bristol squad to a similarly young side with Durham, McCatty will provide crucial experience and knowledge for Lee Sanders’ team as they look to build on a stellar 2016 campaign.

Well versed with the current level of WSL 2, McCatty also brings European experience with her to the north, a key member of the Bristol team that made it to the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter finals in the 2014-15 season.

Known for her philanthropic work in Zambia, McCatty is the next in a long list of players at Durham who combine their time on the pitch with studies at Durham University, with the defender gearing up for a PhD at the local university.

New challenge

After so long with Bristol, the steely centre back needed a new challenge, “grateful” for the opportunities and successes she had during her tenure with the Vixens.

But an “off the pitch challenge” took her to the north of England as she looked to pursue her studies, the opportunity to continue on in the WSL one that brings its’ own challenges but one McCatty is happy to embrace. The defender concluded at the move was all-round a good one for her and she’s “looking forward to what lies ahead.

With his squad really taking shape ahead of the new season, Sanders was thrilled about the move, the defender no stranger to the team after having played against them during the 2016 season.

His interest piqued when he was made aware of her move to Durham University, praising the partnership the team has with the educational institution, happy that players are easily able to combine their playing with pursuing an education that he views makes them stand out from other clubs in the league.  

An experienced player, having McCatty on board will be a boost for the Wildcats as she will also work within their RTC and will be able to pass on her valuable knowledge to the younger players at the club.

Unfortunately having suffered a knock before joining the club, McCatty is unlikely to feature during the one-off Spring Series but will be helped through her rehab by her new club as she readies herself for the September start of the 2017-18 WSL season.