The Newcastle Jets have lost Matildas star Chloe Logarzo to Sydney FC but gained powerhouse US striker Katie Stengel as their first import of the 2017-18 W-League season.
Logarzo came to the Jets for the 2015-16 season from Sydney FC in the search of more game time and to push her claims for a return to the Matildas after earning two caps in 2013.
She did just that, gaining a recall to the Matildas before playing at the Rio Olympic Games and establishing herself in the national team.
The attacking midfielder was set to return to Newcastle for a second season but an ankle injury sustained in Sweden while playing for Eskilstuna United ruled her out for the 2016-17 W-League.
The Jets were hopefully of having Logarzo on board this campaign, which starts on October 29 at McDonald Jones Stadium against Western Sydney, but the 22-year-old has returned home to Sydney, where she started her W-League career and played four seasons.
“You’re always disappointed to lose a player of Chloe’s ability, she’s been a leader within our playing group and has been fantastic in working with our younger players,” Jets coach Craig Deans said in a statement.
“She’s been living away from home and her family for a long time now, so we can appreciate the need for her to make this change.
“Chloe has been an absolute pleasure to coach and she’s certainly welcome back in Newcastle any time she’d like to return.
“We wish her all the best in whatever she decides to do both this season and beyond.”
Logarzo said: “I’ve loved my time at the Jets and in Newcastle. It’s become a ‘home away from home’ for me and it’s been really difficult decision to leave.
“This decision is ultimately about being closer to my family. I’ve been living away both here and overseas for a long period of time, and that becomes really tough.
“From a footballing perspective, the Jets have been an amazing club to be a part of and I want to wish Deansy and the playing group all the best for the season ahead.”
The blow was softened with the news the Jets would have Stengel up front for 2017-18.
The 25-year-old Boston Breakers forward scored both goals for Western Sydney in a 2-1 win over the Jets last season and dominated with her strength and skill on the ball. Stengel has also played with Los Angeles, Bayern Munich and Washington Spirit and was a three-time All-American college star.
Stengel has arrived in Australia and will be unveiled at Jets training on Thursday.
Logarzo was one of three links to the Matildas that Newcastle had leading into this season. Captain and foundation Jets player Gema Simon is expected to return and the club is working to sign former skipper Emily Van Egmond.
The Jets have room in their roster for Van Egmond but are yet to work out a deal after she parted ways with German club Wfl Wolfsburg, where she was contracted until 2019, over the weekend.
Wfl Wolfsburg posted a statement saying Van Egmond had signed with Newcastle and “the fee involved in the transfer remains undisclosed”. However, Deans later said no deal had been done with Van Egmond or Wolfsburg but the club was hoping to regain the midfielder.
Van Egmond has not played in the W-League since winning the competition’s player of the year honour, the Julie Dolan Medal, in 2014 while at the Jets. She returned to Newcastle on Sunday night.
The Wfl Wolfsburg statement went on to quote sporting director for women’s football Ralf Kellermann saying: “Emily recently came to us with the wish to return home. We looked for a solution over the past few days and were ultimately able to grant her wish. We wish Emily all the very best for her future.”
Any deal with Van Egmond is not expected to be finalised until late this week at the earliest.