have signed Republic of Ireland international Heather Payne on a two-year contract until the end of June 2025.

The 23-year-old joins the Club following a four-year spell in the United States with college side Florida State Seminoles.

A versatile player who can play numerous positions down the right flank, Payne becomes Everton Women’s sixth summer signing after striker Martina Piemonte, goalkeeper Emily Ramsey and midfielders Emma Bissell, Justine Vanhaevermaet and Karoline Olesen.

Payne – who first experienced Women’s Super League action with Bristol City in 2018/19 – is excited to return to a league she regards as one of the best in the world.

“I’m really excited to become an Everton player,” she told evertontv.

“This is a great club and one that has a track record of developing talent.

Heather Payne Signs -9191

“I’ve always wanted to come back and play in England. I think it’s one of the best leagues in the world.

“I’m really glad to have this opportunity to come back and see what I can do. I can’t wait to get going.”

Voted Ireland’s Young Women’s Player of the Year earlier this summer, Payne competed at the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup alongside fellow Blue, Courtney Brosnan.

Payne was eager to move to Merseyside after talks with manager Brian Sorensen and revealed how conversations with Brosnan also confirmed why the Blues was the ideal choice.

“I got the chance to sit down with Courtney and have a couple of conversations about Everton,” Payne added. “She only had good things to say about the Club.

“She loves it here. It’s a great place to develop, which is where I’m at in my career right now so I’m really excited to get started.”

Reflecting on the progress made over the past 12 months, Payne is confident Everton can build on the foundations made and hopes to contribute to further success.

“I think this club can achieve great things,” she added.

“Finishing top six last season, I’m sure they’re hoping to do the same again this year, if not better.

“I’m just really looking forward to getting out there, be part of this team and provide as much as I can.”

Manager Sorensen sees a bright future ahead for Payne and believes Everton is the best place for the 23-year-old to continue her development.

“Heather is a player I have been tracking for a while,” he told evertonfc.com.

“This summer we’ve gone for players who we feel have high potential but also have a level to come in and compete from day one, and Heather fits that criteria.

“The offensive side of her game, the way she dribbles with the ball, the speed she offers, it’s clear she’s an athlete.

“She played along the right side during her time in the US, and that’s where we see her fitting into our system, but she is capable of playing on the left, too.

“She would have had a lot of options, especially when you have a profile and you’re still young.

“I’m happy she chose us, and I think we can definitely help her to take the right steps in her development because she needs to challenge herself from a technical and tactical point of view. Physically she’s really good.

“We have the environment for her to do that.

“She’s a smart girl. I’ve spoken to her about where we see her fitting in and also where she can grow her game to take the next step.

“I’m super happy she’s here.”

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