Women's Team

Dahlkemper: City debut a dream come true

Dahlkemper: City debut a dream come true
City defender Abby Dahlkemper says making her debut for the Club on Sunday was ‘a dream come true.’

The World Cup winner donned sky blue for the first time in the impressive triumph over West Ham United, keeping a clean sheet at the heart of defence in a 4-0 victory.

Dahlkemper arrived in Manchester earlier this week, having joined the Club earlier this month. Reflecting on her first week in her new home, the United States star says she has been delighted with her ‘seamless’ transition – both on and off the pitch.

“It was exciting to be able to take the field with my teammates and to represent City for the first time,” she smiled. “It was special. 

“To get a 4-0 win and keep a clean sheet was a dream come true. I'm excited about that and I’m looking forward to more.

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“It was seamless. Sunday was a credit to the girls on the team – they were so welcoming. I felt comfortable and that’s a good thing.

“I’ve been here a week. The city – from what I’ve seen – has been so cute and so cool – and the girls in the team have been amazing. They’ve been so welcoming and have really made my transition so easy.

“It's been great. The facility is world-class, amazing with everything you need. The fields are amazing too. I'm loving it.

“I’m really happy to be here. I’m learning a lot and I’m excited. I’m really excited to continue to work with the team and when it’s safe, I can explore the city as well.

“We can just continue to build on that performance. I want to help in whatever way I can and I will.”

Following in the footsteps of compatriots Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle, Dahlkemper’s move has been made even easier.

The centre-back says she has loved joining up with her fellow USA stars – all who have been selected in their country's SheBelieves Cup squad.

The defender has shared an especially close friendship and playing relationship with Mewis for more than a decade, and heeded both hers and Lavelle's advice on making the move to Manchester.

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“We’ve been together for more than 10 years,” she explained. “She's one of my best friends.

“Being reunited with her has been awesome. To be able to see her grow as a person and player has been really inspiring. We’ve been there for each other through the ups and downs so it's special to continue that journey with her.

“Ultimately, [the move] was 100% up to me but they've said nothing but good things [about the Club]. That definitely helped.

“Having world class facilities – gym access, recovery tools, the fields all there – is something that's really exciting.

“You're able to be pro footballer and have that be your main focus. It’s really cool to experience that: living in a different country and to experience new things.

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“The talent of the team here is unbelievable – it’s a team of top international talent – and I know I'm going to get better. I’m excited for the challenge to grow.

“The way City play, the goalkeeper and the centre-backs are setting a lot of the play. That was attractive to me.

“The value of possession was different from what I was used to. It’s looking at a new way of playing, new opportunities, playing with different players, who are top-class.

“There is definitely a winning mentality here. You need to have a winning mentality to have success as a team. This team wants to do big things.

“We set standards and expectations high and don’t really let ourselves get under that threshold.

“Top to bottom, the team is so talented with top international, you're going to get challenged and you have to earn your right to play and perform.

“The team is going to help me grow. Change is good because you can grow and get better.”

Penning a two-and-a-half-year deal, Dahlkemper issued a statement by committing her long-term future to the Club.

Asked whether she intends to help convince Mewis and Lavelle to follow suit, she replied: “I hope that they [Sam and Rose] stay [longer] but ultimately, it's their decision for what they feel is right for their game.

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“That might be different but I hope they stay. It would be really fun.

“I really wanted to relish the opportunity to experience Europe and be a part of this team for a while and get to really experience everything.

“I think I'm going to grow throughout the years and I wanted something different, a change.

“To be able to experience that for two half years is really going to benefit me on and off the field.

“I'm really happy and I think we can win Championships with this team. I'm really looking forward to that.”

Although the dust has barely settled on her ‘dream’ debut, Dahlkemper is already looking forward to Sunday’s crunch FA Women’s Super League clash with Arsenal, readying herself to face some of the world’s best attacking stars.

“They are a quality side,” she said. “They've done well.

“We respect them but we also focus on our game and the way we've been playing lately, growing and continuing on our success on the pitch.

“It’s about doing little things right and fine-tuning. The girls are excited and we're really focused heading into this week.”

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