Something special is brewing for the Illawarra Stingrays.
The Stingrays announced their second major signing in less than 24 hours on Tuesday morning, snaring Canberra United W-League defender Lauren Keir for the upcoming season.
Keir joins her United teammate Olivia Price, who signed with the Rays on Monday afternoon.
Keir has just completed her second season at the United. After getting a taste of W-League action in her rookie season, the 23-year-old played six games in 2019/20.
The Keir has plenty of sporting pedigree.
Her dad played for the Canberra Raiders, Eastern Suburbs Roosters and North Sydney Bears during the 1980s, mum Dianne represented the ACT in hockey, older sister Ashley is forging a professional tennis career while younger brother Daniel plays for the Raiders' Canterbury Cup team, the Mounties.
Both Keir and Price won't be available to play in Illawarra's Women's National Premier League One opener against Northern Tigers on Sunday as they remain under W-League contracts.
However, Keir told the Mercury that she couldn't wait to arrive in Wollongong and representing the Stingrays.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," she said.
"I've always wanted to play in the NSW NPL and I've been in discussions with Illawarra. They're the perfect club to go to for my development as a player, and their club culture and everything else is just incredible - I chose Illawarra for that reason.
"There's a lot of experienced girls in the team that I can learn off and develop as a player, like Caitlin Cooper who has played in the same position as me for many years. To learn and develop as a player is what I wanted to achieve leading into the next W-League season."
The chance to continue to play alongside Price was another drawcard for Keir.
"I'm pretty close with Liv," she said.
"I actually made the decision before [her] and then convinced her to come with me. Her girlfriend lives down there. I'm so happy that she signed as well, and I know a few of the other girls in the team as well. I'm looking forward to playing alongside her [again]."
Keir will take a couple of weeks off from playing before making the move to Wollongong. Canberra missed out on finals after finishing the season in sixth place.
However, the defender took plenty of positives away from their W-League campaign.
"I stepped up and improved off my rookie year last season," Keir said.
"I got a few opportunities and I'm grateful for that. To play against the likes of [Melbourne Victory star] Natasha Dowey was an incredible experience. Hopefully with that experience and the culture, I can bring that to the Illawarra Stingrays and get them to the finals - that's our goal for the season."
Keir said she looked forward to making her Stingrays debut in the coming weeks.
"I'm be moving my whole life there... it's a new environment and new adventure," she said.
"I'm not sure when I'll start, we're still under contracted with Canberra United and I'm still at work. I'm just really excited to put my head down and work really hard for myself and the team."
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