Jets' American contingent land in Newcastle

The Jets’ Westfield W-League squad has been strengthened by the arrival of a returning star, a familiar face and a new signing on Australian shores.

Arin Gilliland, Tori Huster and Britt Eckerstrom were unveiled by the club yesterday as they took to the training pitch for the first time.

Gilliland, on loan from the Chicago Red Stars, returns to the Hunter for her second consecutive season and the defender-turned-midfielder said it was an easy choice to return to Newcastle.

“I’ve been looking forward to coming back since the moment I left last year, I’ve been chatting with Deansy and there was no doubt in my mind about returning to Newcastle,” said Gilliland.

“It’s a great getaway for us, Newcastle is an awesome town, a beautiful place and we get to play some great football here.”

Gilliland was again looking forward to playing her part in Craig Deans’ attacking style of play over the upcoming season.

“Last year I played a lot more of a midfield role and got a lot of touches on the ball, which really helped improve my technique and was massive for my game back home (in the NWSL),” Gilliland added.

“I want to get plenty of opportunities in front of goal, improve my finishing and hopefully find the back of the net.”

For Washington Spirits’ Tori Huster, she’s excited at the prospect of re-joining the club she enjoyed stints with in 2012/13 and 2014/15.

“Just hearing how it’s grown and that the standard continues to improve, it’s really exciting for the (Westfield) W-League,” said Huster.

“Over the last couple of years of not being here, I definitely felt like I was missing out.”

“Playing over here in a new system with new players is something I’m really looking forward too and is only going to benefit my game.”

Portland Thorns custodian, Britt Eckerstrom will start her first season in the Westfield W-League this weekend after her side was crowned NWSL champions just over a week ago.

“It’s a quick turnaround (the W-league season) from the NSWSL but I’m really looking forward to it,” said Eckerstrom.

“I’m just excited about my first practice with the team and getting to know the girls a little better, adapt to the style of play and kick-off on Sunday.

“I’ve only been here a couple of days but Newcastle has been great so far, I’ve checked out a few of the beaches and everyone has just been so friendly.”

Westfield W-League Coach, Craig Deans will now await the return of Young Matildas Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler and Sophie Nenadovic who are currently on national duty in China.

The Jets’ Westfield W-League squad will now finalise preparations for their first round clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 29 October.