She’s back! Melbourne City announce return of ‘club legend’ ahead of Liberty A-League season

New Zealand international Rebekah Stott has returned to Melbourne City, signing from WSL side Brighton & Hove Albion on a two-year deal.

Stott – who is the club’s all-time Liberty A-League appearance holder with 75 games – returns to the club after departing at the end of the 2021-22 season.

The central defender was an inaugural member of City’s A-League Women’s side in 2015, and went on to win four championships, two premierships and was crowned Players’ Player of the Year in the club’s history-making 2019-20 season – where they secured the double.

Stott since moved to England, playing for Brighton in the last WSL season, and went on to earn a call-up to New Zealand’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.

The 30-year-old started in each of the Football Ferns’ three group stage matches – taking her tally to 93 caps for New Zealand – but has now opted to return “home” ahead of the new A-League Women’s season.

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“Melbourne City is a special place, it’s home to me and I’m so happy to be back,” Stott said.

“I have so many incredible memories here, both on and off the pitch, and I’m determined to do everything I can to help the team be successful. 

“Having just experienced such an incredible World Cup, I can’t wait for the new season to start. We have seen amazing support in the stands, and I believe it’s a turning point for the game and for the fans. 

“We are all excited about seeing City fans at our games and hopefully helping to inspire the next generation of players at Melbourne City.”

Stott left City for Brighton initially in 2020, but returned for medical treatment after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March 2021. Four months later, Stott announced she was in remission, making her return for NPLW Victoria side FC Bulleen Lions in July of that year.

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She soon after re-signed for City and played a key role in their run to a top-two finish, before returning to England at the conclusion of the campaign.

The last of those games was her 100th Liberty A-League appearance, in a 3-1 Semi Final loss to former side Melbourne Victory.

Stott’s return is a major statement from City going into the new season, as they look to build off two consecutive heartbreaking finals exits at the hands of their cross-town rivals Victory.

“Rebekah is an incredible player and a fantastic human being. She’s had her share of challenges in her career, and it says a lot about her resilience that she has continued to perform at the highest levels as a professional,” City Director of Football Michael Petrillo said.

“She is a club legend at City and will bring leadership, passion and professionalism to the dressing room. She also leads by example on the pitch and is an inspirational mentor for the younger players. 

“We have seen the support that the teams have been getting in the World Cup and I’m sure the fans will get behind our team with players like Rebekah on the pitch.”

Stott is the club’s first new signing ahead of the 2023-24 A-League Women’s campaign, with City confirming more will be announced in the coming weeks.