Smith and Scott return to Arsenal

Duo return from Boston ahead of Champions League clash with Gothenburg on Wednesday

Arsenal Ladies have announced the return of Kelly Smith and Alex Scott to the club.

The pair, who had been playing their football for Boston Breakers in the Women’s Professional Soccer League in the USA, return to England following the suspension of the 2012 season in the United States and are back training with the club at their London Colney training ground.

Smith, now coming into her third stint with Arsenal, is one of the most decorated female players in world football.

Honoured with an MBE in 2008, the 33-year-old forward has featured in the top five of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year rankings four times in her 18-year career. For England, she has taken in three European Championships and two World Cups, racking up 45 goals in 111 games for her country along the way.

Smith has enjoyed significant success in the US with the New Jersey Lady Stallions, Philadelphia Charge, New Jersey Wildcats and Boston Breakers but some of her most prolific years came in her last spell in an Arsenal shirt. Between 2005 and 2009 Kelly featured 112 times for the Gunners, scoring 100 goals to help the team to four league titles, three FA Cups and a European title.

Scott, Kelly’s team-mate at Boston Breakers, has made an equally impressive contribution to the Arsenal Ladies since first joining the Centre of Excellence in 1992 at the age of eight.

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As well as scoring the match winning goal in the 2007 UEFA Women’s Cup Final – which confirmed the Gunners as the first ever British champions of Europe’s elite competition – the 27-year-old full-back has helped the side to nine league titles and seven FA Cups in her 172 senior appearances to date.

Like Kelly, an integral part of the England side, Scott has represented her country 87 times, featuring in two European Championships and two World Cups since making her debut in 2004.

Both players will be eligible to play for Arsenal Ladies with immediate effect, and will be available for selection for the Gunners’ first home game of the season – Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Gothenburg with kick-off at 2.30pm at Boreham Wood FC.

Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers said: “Kelly and Alex have both grown up with the club so it feels like they’re coming home now and we’re delighted to be welcoming them back. They are players of exceptional quality and will be a huge boost to the whole squad ahead of the new season.

“For them to return in time for our FA Cup tie on Sunday and Wednesday’s Champion’s League match with Gothenburg is a major bonus too. We’re really looking forward to seeing the pair back in action in the season ahead.”