Paris Saint-Germain signing Clare Hunt (right).
Matildas defender Clare Hunt (right) has signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS
  • soccer

Matildas’ Hunt joins PSG, Cooney-Cross to Arsenal

September 15, 2023

Breakout Matildas defender Clare Hunt has capped off her rapid rise by signing for heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain the same day international teammate Kyra Cooney-Cross joined Arsenal.

Cooney-Cross and Hunt were two of Australia’s standout performers at their debut Women’s World Cup on home soil.

Hunt, 24, has signed with PSG until June 30, 2026, less than seven months after making her Matildas debut.

The centre-back will face off against Matildas teammate and Olympique Lyonnais star Ellie Carpenter in the Division 1 Feminin.

Former Western Sydney captain Hunt, who was a highly rated junior but had a torrid injury run, enjoyed two excellent A-League Women seasons with the Wanderers before earning her maiden call-up in February.

She is still only 13 caps into her international career but is already a lock in Australia’s defence, playing every minute of the World Cup.

That included keeping a clean sheet against many of PSG and Lyon’s stars in the quarter-final win over France.

“I’ve had this as a goal of mine to play professionally overseas and to make the move to a big club, which I know will develop my footballing future,” Hunt told PSG’s website. 

Arsenal signed Cooney-Cross, 21, on a two-year deal, with head coach Jonas Eidevall calling her “one of the best young players in world football”.

Cooney-Cross, an ALW title-winner with Melbourne Victory, was delighted to move from Swedish club Hammarby.

“Arsenal just felt right as soon as I heard about the interest,” she said.

The move took place late on Thursday on the final day of the transfer window.

Arsenal have reportedly paid $A270,000 to sign the 21-year-old, a hefty sum in the women’s game.

Cooney-Cross joins fellow Matildas stars Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord at the Gunners, who finished third in the Women’s Super League last season.

The Queensland-born talent was one of Australia’s best during their World Cup run during which she proved to be a powerful force in the middle of the park, belying her age.

Despite being the second-youngest member of Tony Gustavsson’s squad, she played all but four minutes of the Matildas’ seven matches – an endorsement of her importance.

“Her passing ability and explosiveness allow her to affect games in a way you rarely see from such a young player, so we firmly believe she will be an excellent addition to our midfield, now and in the future,” Eidevall said.

Cooney-Cross joins a strong Australian contingent in the English top flight, including superstar forward Sam Kerr (Chelsea), fellow young gun Mary Fowler (Manchester City) and goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham).

The Women’s Super League season begins in a fortnight.