VALUABLE PLAYER: Western Pride footballer Sophie Weatherby has re-signed for 2018.
VALUABLE PLAYER: Western Pride footballer Sophie Weatherby has re-signed for 2018. Chris Simpson

Pride secures vital pair for expanded competition

WESTERN Pride's senior women's team has received a massive boost for next season with captain Kirsten Veeren and midfielder Sophie Weatherby re-signing.

Veeren is the reigning Player of the Year.

Weatherby won the Players' Player award at Pride's recent presentation night.

Veeren was pleased to be committing to the club for another National Premier Leagues Queensland season.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that this is the club I want to be at," Veeren said.

"I decided to re-sign with Pride because I believe 100 percent in what the club is trying to do.

"Belinda (Kitching) is a fantastic coach and has an incredible vision for the future of the club and I'm so proud to be part of that."

The shot-stopper has been an integral part of the squad since joining the club from Olympic FC in 2016.

Veeren's form during the season earned her a trial at Brisbane Roar's W-League side last month.

Gladstone product Weatherby joined Pride for the 2017 season, playing a pivotal role in midfield with scoring four goals in 17 games.

The 26-year-old said she was delighted to continue her development as a player under the guidance of Kitching.

"I feel extremely comfortable and excited to re-sign with Western Pride," Weatherby said.

"I believe we will have a more competitive team leading into the 2018 season, hopefully with some fresh new players, as we did struggle with numbers and injuries this year.

"We have learned a lot as a squad over the past year so it will be exciting to see how we can develop even more and what we can bring."

Pride is currently holding well-attended trials for their women's and under 17 girls' programs for the 2018 season.

Veeren was excited by the quality of players coming to the club for trials.

"I think it's going to be our strongest team ever," Veeren said.

"Plus our existing players are reaching the age where they're really pushing themselves and next season we'll starting to see what they're capable of".

The 2018 season will see the addition of nine new teams to join the Pride and the other five teams who currently make up the competition.