Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Solaun thrilled with Paris FC move

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2020 | 12:09 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Jamaican midfielder Havana Solaun (centre) beats Australia’s goalkeeper Lydia Williams (on ground) before scoring in Jamaica’s 4-1 defeat to Australia at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France, on June 18, 2019.
Jamaican midfielder Havana Solaun (centre) beats Australia’s goalkeeper Lydia Williams (on ground) before scoring in Jamaica’s 4-1 defeat to Australia at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France, on June 18, 2019.

Another Jamaican international will make her mark in the Women’s French League this year.

Midfielder Havana Solaun has joined Paris FC from Norweigian club Klepp IL until the end of the season, making her the club’s first signing of the winter transfer window. The 26-year-old, who spent three years in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States with the Seattle Reign and the Washington Spirit, said she welcomes the opportunity to test herself in top-level European competition.

“All new opportunities are exciting. Being able to play in France with a highly competitive league will bring challenges. I believe the tougher the opponents, the more growth can occur,” Solaun told The Gleaner. “I look forward to facing the chance to play a new style of soccer, which will add depth to my own game.”

Solaun only managed to make nine appearances and scored two goals for Klepp IL, where she joined on a free transfer from the Washington Spirit despite receiving a contract extension from the latter. She said that it was her agent that brought to her attention the possibility of playing in one of the best women’s league in Europe.

“After my season in Norway, my agent, Damon Wilson, and I were discussing my next move. He brought the opportunity to play in France to my attention because he thought it would be a good fit,” Solaun said.

She will join fellow Reggae Girl Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, who also plays in the league with third-place club Bordeaux and is tied for second in the golden boot race with nine goals. Solaun says that she is relishing the chance of going up against her national teammate.

“It’s always fun to play with Khadija, so playing against her will be a new experience. I do look forward to seeing a familiar face in the league,” Solaun said.

Paris FC currently sit in seventh position in the league on 14 points with 12 matches played.

Last year was a memorable one for her following her play during Jamaica’s historic campaign at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, where she scored the country’s first and only goal at the finals in their 4-1 lost to Australia in their final group game.

Her strike is nominated for the RJRGLEANER People’s Choice Award for Best Performance of the Year.

Solaun believes that her inclusion represents another step taken towards the continued growth of the women’s game in the country and women’s sports in general.

“It’s an honour to be nominated and acknowledged for my World Cup goal. Women’s sports in general have a long way to go to being recognised and respected. To be a part of the movement to push women’s sports into the limelight is amazing,” she said. “Every baby step taken advances women’s sports closer to their goals.”