Motlhalo signs professional contract with Houston Dash

South Africa midfielder Linda Motlhalo has signed a one-year contract with Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States, joining national team captain Janine van Wyk in the professional league.

The pair are now the only two players from South Africa to feature in the top league in women’s football, with both working under former Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw, who has taken over in Houston in 2018.

“Linda is one of the most promising talents of women’s football at this moment,” Pauw told the South African Football Association website.

“Her qualities compliment the talent we have on our roster. She will bring variety in our attack and that will bring the best out of the other players. She can balance our team.

“This move will ensure that South African players start to get recognised. Linda deserves this next step in her career. She has proven herself at the Olympics in Rio on a global stage. This contract opens doors for the world of women’s football to get to know her.”

A number of South African players also feature in college football in the United States and this experience is vital for the national team, according to Pauw.

“The experience that the South African players bring in the country will not only add value to Banyana Banyana because of her growth in the game, but I am convinced it will also open the doors for others.

“Scouts will start to visit South Africa, whereas before not many knew about the high potential South African players can offer.”

The 19-year-old Motlhalo has 14 caps for the senior national team having made her debut two years ago and is the niece of former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Joseph Motlhalo.