The Thorns continue to clear space. According to Optus Sport, Hayley Raso has signed a six month contract with Everton in the FAWSL, and would appear to be leaving her W-League club early in order to join up. The contract is for 6 months—not coincidentally, one that takes her to through the end of the season in England and right up until the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Revealed: @TheMatildas forward Hayley Raso is on her way to @EvertonWomen on a 6-month contract. ⚡⚡— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) January 16, 2020
Raso won't play for Brisbane Roar against Sydney FC in the W-League tonight.#OptusSport pic.twitter.com/vDLjWD8pAO
After ending her 2018 season early due to a rough back injury, Raso made a recovery in time to make her national team’s squad at the 2019 World Cup and returned to play for the Thorns after, scoring 4 goals in the second half of the season.
The drumbeat from Australian media about players needing to play in Europe has been ever-present in recent years, but it’s gotten to a fever pitch in the wake of their somewhat abrupt exit from the World Cup last year. Raso was an important player for the Matildas there, one of their more consistent performers, and may be looking forward to a new challenge in a different soccer environment after spending nearly all of her emergence as a starting player in a high level league with the Thorns. With Caitlin Foord reportedly off to Arsenal instead of Orlando after getting traded their just a week ago, this would mark the third prominent Matilda forward making their way to the FAWSL in the space of less than a month.
It’s unclear at this point if Raso intends to return to the NWSL or the Thorns after the Olympics wrap.