Star defender joins Swedish powerhouses after ‘outstanding’ impact at Western United

Star defender Angie Beard will join Swedish powerhouses Linköping FC, returning to Europe after a one season stint with Western United.

Beard departs Western after making 12 appearances for the club, helping them to a Liberty A-League Grand Final appearance in their first season in the competition.

The 26-year-old full-back unfortunately sustained a foot injury during the Semi Final triumph over Sydney FC, meaning she missed the decider, but recovered in time to play in each of the Philippines’ three 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage matches.

Beard will now link up with the three-time Damallsvenskan champions, who currently sit second in Sweden’s top tier and are approaching a UEFA Women’s Champions League play-off match against Arsenal.

“To the club and the girls – thank you for welcoming me into the team and allowing me to play a small part in your historical inaugural season,” she said.

“Although my career takes me back to European football, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Western United and I wish the team the best of luck for the upcoming season.

“To the fans – thank you so much for your support during the past season and the Women’s World Cup. Just like you, I’ll be a fan of the Western United women for the next season and wishing them all of the best from afar.”

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Beard joined the club in January from Danish side Fortuna Hjørring and slotted into Mark Torcaso’s side seamlessly, forging a formidable defensive partnership with the likes of Sydney Cummings and Alana Cerne.

Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato thanked Beard for her contributions to the club.

“Angie has been outstanding for our club since she joined in January and we are incredibly grateful for her contributions to our entire organisation,” Impiombato said.

“We were delighted to see Angie performing at a high level at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and we are equally pleased to see her move to a world class league in Europe.

“We wish Angie all the very best in Sweden and thank her for playing a significant part in our successful inaugural season. We will be watching and supporting from afar.”

This is Beard’s third Scandinavian side she has played for throughout her career, after initially plying her trade for KR in Iceland in 2020 and most recently – Fortuna.

Her debut for Linkoping could come as soon as this weekend, when they take on league leaders BK Hacken on Saturday before facing the Gunners on Thursday.

Western will now turn their attention to finding reinforcements at full-back, having now lost Beard and also parted ways with both Francesca Iermano and Tiana Jaber this off-season – while Aimee Medwin continues her rehab from a torn ACL.

The club announced that both Emma Robers and Stacey Papadopoulos re-signed for the upcoming season today, becoming the seventh and eighth players to sign extensions from last season’s squad.

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