Chelsea Women sign Belgian goalkeeper Nicky Evrard

Nicky Evrard of Belgium during the Arnold Clark Cup. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea Women have signed Belgian goalkeeper Nicky Evrard on a pre-contract agreement, with the player joining from OH Leuven on 1 July 2023.

The 27-year-old will make the switch to London upon the conclusion of the Belgian Women’s Super League season, where OH Leuven currently occupy first position. Evrard has featured in every game for her club so far this campaign, conceding just seven goals in 20 matches.

A left-footed goalkeeper known for her strong passing game, reflexes, and penalty saving ability, Evrard has signed a contract with Chelsea until the summer of 2026 and she will link up with her new teammates ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

On signing for Chelsea, Evrard said: ‘It’s really crazy, dreams do come true. I’m really happy, excited and honoured to play for a big club like Chelsea. I follow the women’s games, I watch the competition in England, and it’s always fun to watch the Chelsea games.

‘I hope to bring my performance from the Euros to here, the big goal is to bring something to the team. Chelsea want to win trophies, that is also my ambition and I want to win a lot at the club.’

Manager Emma Hayes commented: ‘Nicky will be a great addition to our squad, certainly she showed her quality and her talent in the Euros last summer. Coming into a full-time, professional environment will certainly help her take the steps in the next direction. I know she will complement Ann and Zecira and add to our goalkeeping union.’

Having plied her trade at lower league level with Racing Strijpen and SK Munkzwalm in her native Belgium, Evrard moved to Cercle Melle who were renamed KAA Gent Ladies in 2012, the women’s side of Belgian Pro League team KAA Gent, a club she served until 2017.

A move to the Netherlands and FC Twente was followed by a spell with Sporting Huelva in Spain. In 2020, Evrard returned home to Belgium with KAA Gent where she remained until moving to Leuven in July 2022.

She has played every game this season for OH Leuven, who lead second-placed RSC Anderlecht by two points ahead of the play-offs, which are played to determine the league champions.

OHL and Red Flames goalkeeper Nicky Evrard, winner of the 'Best Female player' award
Nicky Evrard after winning the ‘Golden Shoe’. (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

On the international stage, Evrard has earned 61 caps for her native Belgium and represented them at the 2022 European Championships here in England. She was awarded the Player of the Match award despite their narrow defeat to Sweden at the quarter-final stage.

Earlier this year, a landmark personal achievement saw Evrard presented with the Belgian Golden Boot. This trophy is given to the best Belgian female player, with Evrard becoming the first goalkeeper to win the women’s award.

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