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Casey Stoney moves clubs ahead of the new Super League

Jessica Creighton
BBC Sport

Casey Stoney and Rod Wilson
Stoney (left) signs for Super League club Lincoln Ladies

England defender Casey Stoney has switched clubs only one month before she is due to play in the UK's first semi-professional women's league.

Stoney, one of England's most senior players with 87 caps, has transferred to Lincoln Ladies from her childhood club Chelsea Ladies.

The 28-year-old was impressed by Lincoln Ladies' set-up ahead of the Women's Super League (WSL) next month.

"They're taking this very seriously and investing in the team," she said.

"The opportunity at Lincoln is too good to be turned down - in terms of training everyday, they've got a good side and they're doing things on a professional level.

"Chelsea couldn't finance training everyday, I don't think that was ever a prospect for them to be honest.

"My decision was based on footballing reasons more than anything. I'm 28 and not getting any younger, and the opportunity to train everyday is something I've never had - Lincoln are able to offer me that.

"There comes a point in your career when you've got to look after number one."

Next month, the Football Association, will launch a full-time, semi-professional women's league consisting of eight teams - the first of its kind in the UK.

Both Chelsea Ladies and Lincoln Ladies will be competing in the new league when it kicks off on 13 April.

Stoney, who has represented her country since 2000, joins a handful of England internationals already signed to a new-look Lincoln Ladies side aiming for top honours in the WSL.

The former International Player of the year told BBC Sport: "The fact Lincoln have signed Sue Smith, Jess Clarke, Sophie Bradley and myself - they're showing that they're taking this very seriously.

"I think Lincoln are moving in the right direction and they're doing things in the right way. It's a real positive move for me. I think we'll be able to compete really well within the league."

With the World Cup in Germany three months away, Stoney believes her move to the East Midlands will stand her in good stead.

"Hopefully it will enhance my position within the [England] team - training everyday can only help you as a player, in terms of fitness and making sure I'm 100% with the World Cup coming up."

The former Arsenal Ladies player will now be lining up in the red and white of Lincoln Ladies rather than the royal blue of Chelsea when she makes her debut in the WSL on 14 April against Doncaster Rover Belles.

When asked about the prospect of lining up against former side Chelsea Ladies she said: "I think it will be emotional but at the same time it's another football match and when I play football I want to win - regardless of who I'm playing against."

Lincoln Ladies manager Rod Wilson said: "A player of Casey's experience and leadership, coupled with her versatility, can only strengthen our squad and I'm sure that she will be a massive asset to the club.

"It's a really timely boost so close to the launch of the new campaign."

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see also
England Women wary of the Dutch
15 Mar 11 |  Women
Everton target tournament victory
15 Mar 11 |  Women
Footballer Stoney excited at 2012 opener
15 Feb 11 |  London 2012

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