Polkinghorne joins Japanese Champions

Brisbane Roar captain Clare Polkinghorne will play for one of Asia’s biggest women’s football clubs, agreeing to terms with Nadeshiko League club INAC Kobe Leonessa.

Brisbane Roar captain Clare Polkinghorne will have the chance to play for one of Asia-s biggest women-s football clubs, agreeing to terms with Nadeshiko League club INAC Kobe Leonessa for the Westfield W-League off-season.

The 25-year-old, who is recently co-captained the Matildas to the final of the AFC Women-s Asian Cup in Vietnam, will play for the reigning Japanese champions between June and the end of the competition in August allowing her to return to Australia for the start of the Westfield W-League campaign.

INAC Kobe Leonessa is currently sixth on the competition ladder but has won the Nadeshiko League for the past three seasons and the past four Empress-s Cup tournaments, stretching back to 2010.

Also the 2010 Australian Female Footballer of the Year and the 2013 Julie Dolan Medallist for Westfield W-League Player of the Year, Polkinghorne will have the chance line-up alongside some of Japan-s 2011 FIFA World Cup-winning squad including then-captain and 2012 FIFA Ballon d-Or winner Homare Sawa.

"I'm very excited to be joining INAC for the next few months,” Polkinghorne said.

“They have been one of the most successful clubs in Japan over the last couple of years and have a few Japanese national team players.

“Japan is leading the way in women's football not only in Asian but worldwide and I'm looking forward to experiencing their culture on and off the field."

The recently-named Brisbane Roar Westfield W-League Player of the Year will play in the same league as Roar teammates Tameka Butt and Elise Kellond-Knight, who recently signed for Iga FC.

“The standard of the Nadeshiko League is very high and will help each player further develop the technical part of their game,” Brisbane Roar Head Coach Belinda Wilson said.

“Clare, Tameka and Elise all like to get on the ball and this league will suit their style of play.”

With in-form pocket-rocket Katrina Gorry plying her trade for FC Kansas City in the National Women-s Soccer League in the US throughout the Australian off-season, Brisbane Roar Football Director Ken Stead said he was pleased the players had the opportunities to test themselves overseas.

“It-s fantastic that the chance has arisen for our players to experience playing in some of the best leagues around the world,” Stead said.

“The club wishes our players all the best and we-re confident it will provide them with some momentum for Brisbane Roar heading into the next W-League season in Australia.”

The competition draw for the Westfield W-League 2014/15 season has not yet been released by Football Federation Australia.