Sunderland make double swoop for Laws and Stewart

Quiet in the window so far this summer, Sunderland have made two signings ahead of the new season, re-signing Rachael Laws from Durham and adding Ellie Stewart to the side.

Rachael Laws

After spending the Spring Series with neighbouring WSL 2 side, Durham, goalkeeper Laws returns to Hetton to fight for the number one jersey with winter signing, Anke Preuß.

Newcastle native Laws is already well-known to the Sunderland faithful having been with the Lady Black Cats for over ten years before making the Spring switch to Durham to fill-in for regular number one, Helen Alderson.

But the new season sees a move back home for Laws who stated she was, “grateful for the opportunity” at Durham but having signed for Sunderland in her teens the club remains “her home” and is already “looking forward” to the forthcoming WSL season.

The signing of Laws will keep the goalkeeping contingent at the club at two after the news that Swedish shot-stopper Hilde Gunn Olsen has joined Cypriot side Ayia Napa

Ellie Stewart

Stewart joins as a free agent after leaving Blackburn Rovers at the end of June.

The defender was a consistent fixture for Rovers as they clinched the FA WPL North title before losing the play-off against Tottenham at the end of May.

Well used to the pace of WSL football, Merseysider Stewart started life out in the Everton academy before moving to Liverpool in 2013 and then returning to the Blues in 2015 after failing to break into the first team at Liverpool.

A regular with Everton during her two years in WSL 2, Stewart carved out a place for herself in Andy Spence’s squad in their bid for promotion and scoring the odd belter along the way.

Speaking about her move, Stewart has said she “cannot wait to get started” is ready for the challenges that she’ll face playing at the highest level in England and has already been made to “feel very welcome” by her new team-mates.

Both players will take an active role in the SAFC Ladies Partner Club programme which falls under the umbrella of the FA Sister Club initiative and allows grassroots teams to link-up for coaching, camps and tournaments.

Set to be offered to boys and girls teams alive in the North East, it is another thing Stewart is looking forward to getting stuck into, the player saying she is “excited to be involved” with the programme.