The legendary shot-stopper cannot wait to get started at the club.
New Brighton & Hove Albion Women’s goalkeeper Emma Byrne is happy to be opening a new chapter in her highly-successful career, and expressed her excitement ahead of the FA WSL Spring Series, which begins in February.
The 37-year-old, who won 11 league titles with Arsenal over 16 years, has been impressed with the club’s state-of-the-art training facilities and showed enthusiasm towards the challenge of playing for the Seagulls.
She said, “I’m really excited to be honest. When I came down last week to have a look around the training ground and meet George Parris [interim manager], the place was far beyond my expectations.
“There are such fantastic facilities and an amazing support network. The one thing I took away was the sense of community and family, and that’s really key for me.
“The biggest thing I take away from Arsenal is the people I met and the team that I’m still very close with now. But I wouldn’t say I was sad to leave, because I was there a long time and it was time for my next move.
“This has probably been a couple of years coming, I’d been thinking about it for a while. I was excited about what my next step would be and now I’m looking forward to facing a new challenge."
The Republic of Ireland international has been capped 125 times for her country and also won the Uefa Women’s Champions League with the Gunners, but Byrne was modest when speaking about her own high-profile status.
“I never really look at myself as a role model because we’re all playing for the same club, at the same standard, so as far as I’m concerned, we’re all playing for the same thing.
“But obviously I’ll bring experience, and I’ve always had that winning mentality, so it’s up to me to adapt it for this team.
“I’m a coach as well as a goalkeeper, and if you ask any players that have played with me, they’ll say they’ve learned a lot from me, just from my coaching while I’m in goal.
“So hopefully I can bring a little bit of education and motivation to the current squad, but I know they’re already motivated anyway, so it’s going to be an easy job for me.”
Despite winning numerous trophies during her time in North London, Bryne insists the hunger to achieve more still remains, and highlighted promotion as Albion’s aim for the upcoming WSL2 season.
“I challenge myself with everything that I do, so I’m really looking forward to playing for another club that’s ambitious and wants to go places.
“Personally, I want to train well and play well. I still think I can improve, so I want to do that and give it my best shot this season, which I always do anyway.
“For the team, the aim is obviously promotion, that’s what every team will be thinking about. So we’re going to compete and show everyone that it’s a club that’s moving in the right direction."