Today we can reveal the first ever full time players in the proud history of Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Belles decided to build on last season’s promotion from FAWSL2 by offering fully professional contracts to a core group of players.
The Star can reveal that the eight women to have secured full time deals with Doncaster are Emily Simpkins, Rhiannon Roberts, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Natasha Dowie, Becky Easton, Katrin Omarsdottir, Kasia Lipka and Carla Humphrey.
England striker Dowie, former Belles captain Easton and Iceland international Omarsdottir are all winter arrivals from Liverpool.
Midfielder Humphrey joined last month on a season-long loan from Arsenal.
Former Birmingham midfielder Simpkins became the first player to sign a full time contract in November.
Sweetman-Kirk’s deal is reward for a prolific season in front of goal after she ended last year as the top scorer in FAWSL2 and scooped the divisional player of the year award.
Former Sheffield United academy midfielder Lipka and Wales centre back Roberts complete the list.
Skipper Leandra Little, a PE teacher, former England star Sue Smith, who also works as a pundit for BBC and Sky Sports, and goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs, a firefighter, are notable absentees from the list.
Boss Glen Harris said: “Quite a few girls are making a big step coming into full time and made big decisions with their careers to actually give it up for football.
“I understand how difficult some of those decisions have been.”
Belles are set to move into a state-of-the-art training facility at Misson before the start of the new FAWSL1 season.