England international goalkeeper Carly Telford has left Chelsea to join San Diego Wave, who will debut in the NWSL this year.
Telford will link up with former England teammate Casey Stoney, who was appointed San Diego’s first head coach, and will compete with Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan for a starting place.
“I am very pleased with the signing of Carly Telford. I know Carly well and know exactly what she will bring both on the pitch and in our environment,” Stoney said, via the club’s official website.
“She is a talented, experienced international that will add real strength to our goalkeeping unit. I am looking forward to working with Carly to see what we can achieve together.”
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes called Telford a ‘fantastic servant’ to the WSL champions and admitted that they ‘didn’t want to lose her’.
Telford has been with the Blues since 2017, her third spell with the Blues, after joining from Notts County. The 34-year-old has only previously played outside England during a loan spell at Perth Glory in Australia almost a decade ago.
She has been back-up to Ann-Katrin Berger at Chelsea over the last couple of seasons, with the move perhaps an important step in securing a place in England’s squad for Euro 2022 amid fierce competition from a number emerging younger goalkeepers at other WSL clubs.
Telford has previously been selected for three World Cup squads and Euro 2017, while she was most recently part of the Great Britain roster at the delayed 2020 Olympics in Japan.
The veteran goalkeeper will add a wealth of experience to a San Diego team already bursting with international quality, having acquired the likes of USWNT stars Alex Morgan and Abby Dahlkemper, as well as well-travelled England striker Jodie Taylor and Sweden’s Sofia Jakobsson.