Sheffield United sign up three more to Superleague project

Kasia Lipka, Alethea Paul and Rhema Lord-Mears have become the latest players to sign up to Sheffield United's push for the Women's Superleague.

Alethea Paul, right, playing for Sheffield United Women against Manchester City.

The trio have all agreed terms to return to Carla Ward's side for next year as they look to build on the curtailed 2019-20 campaign's second-place finish in the Women's Championship, the second tier.

The announcement follows the news earlier this week that Maddy Cusack, Jade Pennock and Katie Wilkinson had all signed deals for the 2020-21 season.

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Paul originally joined from Manchester City in 2018 and was a regular in the United midfield, before playing predominantly as a left-back after returning from illness at the start of last season.

Blades Women's boss Carla Ward

With 32 appearances across her two years at the club, Paul registered three assists getting forward from full-back last season and her versatility will once again prove key in the new campaign.

“I’m delighted to be signing with the club for another season. I can’t wait to get back with the team and push for another successful season.”

Experienced midfielder Lipka joined the Blades last summer 10 years after graduating through the club’s academy.

A regular in the FA Women’s Super League for both Doncaster Rovers Belles and Sunderland, Lipka joined during her return from an ACL injury which had kept her out for the whole of the previous season.

Lipka made seven appearances as she gradually returned to fitness and there’s much more to come from the midfielder this season.

“I’m really pleased to have signed with Sheffield United for another season. I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and push to go one better than we did last season,” said Lipka.

Lord-Mears only arrived at the club in January this year and was only able to make three appearances before the season was curtailed.

Arriving after a six-month spell at fellow Championship side Blackburn, Lord-Mears scored her first goal as a Blade against her former club 30 seconds after coming off the bench in what turned out to be both the team’s final game and goal of the season.

“I’m really happy to have signed for another year. I’m looking forward to a fresh start after a rocky season but I know I need to work hard to solidify my name in the starting team. I need to find my love for football again and I think Sheffield United is the right place for that.”

With all three bringing versatility and different qualities to the midfield, manager Ward is delighted that all three have committed to another season at the club.

“Thea had a frustrating start to the season with injury and illness but after that she came into her own, she claimed her shirt and has been quality for us since," said Ward.

"You saw a real focused side of Thea in the second half of the season and I hope she can kick on and we continue to see that from her this season.”

“I’m looking forward to what Kasia is going to bring this season. We know she’s an outstanding player but she’s had a frustrating time with injuries over the last couple of seasons. Towards the end of last season she started to get into a bit of form and injury free so I’m very excited to see what she can offer both on and off the pitch.

“Rhema is an exciting player and a player who can turn any game. I think if we start to get her a run of games and see what she’s really about then I think she has the potential to be frightening in this league. She possesses so much quality and technically she’s one of the best I’ve seen in the female game. Now it’s getting her to turn that into performances and I think she certainly can so it’s a big season for Rhema.”