Reading Women have confirmed the signing of Republic of Ireland international Sophie Perry from Brighton & Hove Albion Women.
Perry makes switch to the top flight
The full-back has joined the Royals on a permanent deal after her contract with the Seagulls ran out earlier this year. Perry was a member of the Brighton side that were recently crowned Women's Premier League National Champions after beating Sporting Club Albion 4-2 at Adams Park, rounding off a fine season in the Premier League Southern Division South.
The 29-year-old has had previous spells with both Chelsea and Millwall Lionesses. During her eight-year spell with the Blues competing in the Women's Super League, she played in the 2012 FA Women's Cup Final - losing 3-2 to Birmingham City in a penalty shoot at Ashton Gate.
The Brighton-born defender represented England up to Under-23 level before choosing to play for the Republic of Ireland. Perry represented her country for the first time in February 2012, receiving her first call-up for the 2012 Algarve Cup. She made her debut in the second game of the tournament, in which Ireland drew 0-0 with Wales.
The Irishwoman, who is also the head of Physical Education at a school in her native Brighton, has represented her country in both World Cup and Euro qualifying campaigns, they currently sit third in Group 2 in Euro 2017 qualifying, four points behind second place Finland.
Kelly Chambers' side, who fell to defeat against Arsenal Ladies last week in the Continental Cup, have made a number of key signings to bolster their squad - with the most prominent being the deadline day swoop for former Birmingham City midfielder Remi Allen.
The Royals currently sit in sixth place in WSL 1 and are yet to pick up a victory since their promotion from WSL 2. However, Chambers' side have put in some steady performances, grinding out four draws to keep them above bottom of the table teams Sunderland and Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Speaking about the Irish international's arrival, Reading Boss Kelly Chambers told the club's official website, that the signing is "an experienced defender and has proven herself both in the WSL1 and at international level.
Chambers added, "It is another great signing for us and one that further increases the competitiveness for places within the squad, which I see as a positive. Sophie is a very professional and ambitious player who adds extra quality to our already talented squad".
Speaking about her move, Perry revealed what attracted her to the club: "It’s a great setup here; good staff, a good bunch of players. I’m very excited to get going!"
She continued, "I want to test myself again in WSL1, the team has done really well so far this season and got some good points, so I’m hoping I can help strengthen the side and help us do well in the second half of the season".