Southampton sign Northern Ireland’s Ciara Watling


Southampton have signed Ciara Watling from Charlton Athletic ahead of the National League season. 

Watling becomes the second Northern Irish international to join the Saints this summer after Laura Rafferty linked up with the club last month. 

The 28-year-old began her career at Charlton before enjoying stints at Millwall Lionesses and Crystal Palace, followed by a return to her childhood club in 2020.

She has been key to Kenny Shiels’ squad since she was named in the Euro 2022 playoff squad for games against Ukraine. She also played against Scotland in June at Seaview. 

This season will be Southampton’s first in the National League. On signing for the South Coast side Watling said: “I came away from Charlton and was looking for a new team and a new experience. I came in and I just enjoyed it – I think it’s a club that can develop me.

“It’s been great to see what the team has done, the way they want to go. They want to do what the men have done and work up from league to league. I definitely think with everything in place and the facilities – the management, the players, they can do that.

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“For the season, I think we’ve got a real chance of even getting promoted again. I’m here to win things and I want to, whether that be the league, cups, that would be great.”

Head Coach Marieanne Spacey-Cale added: “We are delighted to add Ciara to the playing squad.

“The experience Ciara has enjoyed during her career, both within the Championship and internationally will add a lot to our playing style for the upcoming season.

“Ciara is a strong, direct player who can operate in a number of roles and we look forward to working with her and developing her further.”

Watling made her Northern Ireland debut in 2015 against Georgia.

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