Lewes FC can unveil our first new signing of the summer, with Emily Kraft joining the Rooks from FFC Frankfurt, subject to international clearance.
The German/Irish forward departed Frankfurt after nine years this summer, and becomes the first recruit under boss Scott Booth.
Kraft made her first Germany youth appearance in 2016 but four years ago switched to Republic of Ireland, who she qualifies for under her mother’s nationality.
The 20-year-old says: “It’s always been a dream to play in England. English football is amazing and I want to really grow here and develop. Scott and Lewes have given me the chance and I really hope we can win the league. I thought ‘this is the right step for me’.”
Kraft was introduced to the Rooks via a Zoom call with Booth, which ended in the player convinced she had found her next club.
‘I have to do this’
“Scott talked me through a lot. But of course I wanted to know more, and when I did more research and saw about the equality at the club, the history here and what we want to do, it sounded amazing,” she says.
“Playing at a club where men and women are paid and treated the same, it’s incredible. Women’s football is developing a lot and to be part of that, and play winning football, is the cherry on top.
“The chat with Scott went really, really well. I left it thinking ‘I have to do this’ and I’d have regretted it if I hadn’t.”
Early football education
Kraft started playing football at the age of three and joined her local team at 12. From there, she secured a place at Frankfurt’s academy, where the German club provided its youth players an academic education alongside a footballing one.
“From then on it just kept going,” she says. “I got higher and higher with the club, and then got scouted in my county for the Germany youth team. I was scouted for Germany at U15 and also played for the U16s.
“Then Ireland noticed me and approached me. I’d never really thought of playing for Ireland before because where I was, was great. But once Ireland did approach me it was quite interesting for me, because I’m half Irish and half German.
“I’d always identify as Irish and it was always clear to me that, if I were to play for a country, it would be one I identify with. So while it was a hard decision, I don’t regret it. I’m really happy how it’s going.”
As for what she can bring to the Dripping Pan, Kraft says the fans can expect dedication from the off.
“I’m open to challenges and I really want to help this club and team bring out the best in itself,” she says.
“I want us to show what we’re made of. We’re not an underdog. We can shine and develop Lewes, and what it stands for. And of course, I want to win the league!”
‘The world’s her oyster’
Rooks manager Booth adds: “Emily has a lot of potential. She has an incredibly good touch, can score goals and is really enthusiastic. Her ambition means she wants to be the best and keep going on to better things.
“This is a great place for her to be right now. She’s got a lot to learn and she wants to learn. The world’s her oyster really and she will go on to do some amazing things.”
Everyone at Lewes FC would like to welcome Emily to the club.