Six new faces joined the Club over the summer in the form of Ellen White, Lee Geum-min, Matilde Fidalgo, Aoife Mannion, Laura Coombs and Tyler Toland, as Nick Cushing bolstered his squad ahead of another season competing on all four fronts.
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While Stokes admitted sometimes it can take time for new signings to adapt, the left-back has been impressed with their attitude and endeavour in the opening weeks of pre-season – particularly South Korea international Lee Geum-min!
“The new players have settled in well, as you’ve probably seen!” she smiled.
“Lee’s keeping us entertained! We’re all getting on well.
“It’s early days so we’re still developing partnerships. We’ll keep training and developing partnerships, getting to know each other.
“I think we’ll be ready for the start of the season. Coming into this tournament, although it’s a short tournament, you’ve got to be ready to go.
“There’s two big games so the opportunity is there so it’s up to us now to start doing the work.”
With City set to lock horns with the North Carolina Courage and either Lyon or Atletico Madrid in the States, there will be 40 World Cup stars competing in the tournament.
Stokes believes the squad will reap the benefits of facing such top quality opposition.
“It will prepare us for the league and the Champions League,” she added. “There are great players here.
“You have to be sharp from the off – these are not easy games.
“It’s good for the new players, the experience. Not to get too far ahead but they can know what the level has to be like.
“We need to do what we need to do as individuals to be successful as a team.”
Having started her career at youth level with hometown Club Sunderland, Stokes opted to make the move to America to pursue a career in football, whilst continuing her education, with limited opportunities available in England.
With the rapid growth of the women’s game since, Stokes hopes to see budding female players pursue their dreams in the United Kingdom in the future.
“When I came over to the USA, there wasn’t a lot going on in England,” she admitted.
“There was a professional league but it wasn’t sustainable at the time.
“I think I was training twice a week! I wanted to go full-time, training every day, so I thought I’d go to America and get an education as well.
“At the time, it was the best decision for me. I’ve come back since and I can’t believe where the game has moved to in a short space of time.
“Players moving abroad is good for the game and vice versa. Players go elsewhere to get different experiences – it’s more than just football. They go to develop everything – people skills as well as football.
“For example, having someone like Janine Beckie brings a different view and style, which is good for the development of the team.
“I’ve been very fortunate and I can only speak from my experience – everyone has their own."
City kick-off the 2019/20 Super League campaign with a mouth-watering Manchester Derby, hosting Manchester United on Saturday 7 September at 3pm at the Etihad Stadium in the first encounter between the sides since the league was formed. Tickets are available and kids go FREE – don’t miss out!