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Young star Steph joins Leeds
 Women's Football News 30 Jul 2007
Young star Steph joins Leeds - 30 Jul 2007 - Women's Football NewsLeeds United have announced the signing of Young Player of the Year Award winner Steph Houghton from Sunderland. 
Steph, who had been sought after by many of the top clubs in the country, pushed herself into the full England squad last season with her impressive displays whilst playing for Sunderland. 19-year-old Steph won the prestigious Young Player of the Year award, chosen by her fellow players at the FA Awards in May this year.
Steph is a versatile player and has played in various positions including right back, central midfield, right midfield and striker over the past few seasons.
Leeds manager Rick Passmoor commented: " We are delighted to have signed Steph for Leeds United Ladies. We have been long time admirers of her game and have paid particular attention to her throughout the summer and both Leanne (Hall) and i see her as an integral part to our drive and development of the first team as we look to challenge for honours. We are also impressed by her ability, vision to both win and continual progress as a player and individual.
Steph added: "I am really looking forward to the season with Leeds. I had been at Sunderland for five years and I was gutted when they got relegated but realised it was also time to move on. I will always look out for their results and will always love the club and want to wish them all the best for this season.
"When I made the decision to move clubs I didn't want to just sign for the first club that approached me, I wanted to take my time and speak to everyone who had expressed an interest in signing me. I was honoured to have interest from clubs like Arsenal and Everton.
"It made the decision so hard, but in the end I had to weigh everything up. I met with Leeds on two or three occasions and was excited by their plans, ambition for the future and how they wanted to work with me to improve myself as a player. I felt Leeds gave me the best opportunity to play regularly, improve myself and they have a really promising future and a fantastic set up.
"Leeds have some established Internationals who I can learn from. I am looking forward to playing alongside players like Sue Smith and Amanda Barr, both of whom have been involved with England for some time. Leeds also have many up and coming talented youngsters with three or four in the England under-19s squad and quite a few involved at under-17 level too."
Chairperson Melanie Vauvelle further added: "Everyone at Leeds is absolutely thrilled that Steph has decided to Join Leeds. She is one of the most talented young players in the country.
"We met with Steph on a couple of occasions and talked to her about the club's plans and future ambitions. Steph is a great person and wonderful role model for young players everywhere.
"I know Steph could have gone to almost any club in the Premier league and we feel privileged that she chose Leeds. We gave her time and space after talking to her to make the decision for herself, together with her family, without putting pressure on her - she is still only 19 and it was big decision for her.
"Things are looking quite exciting for the season ahead with the new management team and new signings but we certainly will not be getting carried away." 
Photo - Julian Barker

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