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Sheffield United Women v Durham Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Welcome to Sunderland AFC Ladies... Iris Achterhof!

Dutch forward Achterhof joined Sunderland AFC on Friday and made her debut yesterday at the Stadium of Light. We profile the latest recruit to Mel Reay’s talented young squad.

Photo by Lewis Storey - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Sunderland Ladies signed striker Iris Achterhof on Friday to make another strong addition to the recently promoted squad, and she made her debut as a second-half substitute as the Lasses maintained their unbeaten start to the season on Sunday.

Achterhof was released from our neighbours and fellow FA Women’s Championship side Durham Wildcats in the last month. The tall, highly-rated 24-year-old looked at home playing on the right of the attack in the game against Lewes and, after a season out with an ACL injury, she’ll be raring to get more minutes under her belt in the coming weeks with plenty of league and cup games on the horizon.

Iris already has one goal to her name this season for Durham, and it was a surprise to me to see that she’d been released – certainly, some of their supporters are not too pleased to have lost her to their rivals down the river. However, their loss is Sunderland’s gain. It’s another astute signing from manager Mel Reay, following the reintroduction of Emma Kelly and Charlotte Potts this summer.

Keira Ramshaw and Emily Scarr have done an excellent job in the most advanced of forward positions for the lasses so far this season. Iris will feel that she can nail that position down, as that is her natural role, but for Emily and Keira they are not players who usually play centre-forward. Achterhof will need to be at her best though as young striker Eve Blakey will also be pushing to make that lone striker role her own, in Reay’s preferred formation this season.

Achterhof moved to Durham after starring for Old Dominion University’s women’s soccer team in America between 2015 and 2019, after coming through as a youth at Dutch sides VV Zuidhorn and SC Heerenveen. She’s also played professionally in Iceland for Þór/KA and is currently a Master's Student at Durham University.

After her injury last season she will be looking to really make her mark at a big club such as Sunderland, and Mel Reay will have seen a tall, strong, and pacey forward with plenty to prove. Welcome to Sunderland Association Football Club, Iris.

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