The Lion City Sailors Women’s Team have added experience to a young playing roster with the signing of German midfielder Laura Gänser.

The 26-year-old fills the Sailors’ fourth and final foreigner slot for the 2024 Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) season, joining Sara Hayduchok, Madison Telmer and Miray Altun in a squad filled predominantly with Singaporean teenagers.  

Laura, Sara, Beatrice Tan and Ho Hui Xin are the only fit players in the squad above the age of 22, with Fatin Aqillah still working her way back to full fitness after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury last season. 

“Laura is a natural leader and her ability to organise things on the pitch is something that can really help our young team,” said new Sailors Women Head Coach Daniel Ong.

“She played mostly as a defender back in Germany, but I want her to play in midfield where she can offer a lot in terms of her excellent positioning and ability to produce line-breaking passes.” 

Laura comes with a wealth of experience, having played many years in the lower divisions of German football – featuring for the likes of Karlsruher SC; FC Bitburg, and most recently 1. FC Mühlhausen.

She relocated to Singapore last October after her boyfriend secured a job here with a local German IT company. But the passion to continue growing in the Beautiful Game still burned within Laura. And it wasn’t long before  she identified the best place for her to continue playing football – the Sailors.

Laura began training with the Sailors towards the tail-end of last season, and was part of a Sailors Women Selection side that travelled to Selangor for a series of friendly matches against several Malaysian sides last December.

Having had to patiently wait for her official Sailors debut , she is now understandably excited to make her first competitive appearance in a Sailors jersey this Saturday (9 March) evening, when the reigning WPL champions kick off their title defence against Tiong Bahru at Choa Chu Kang Stadium. 

“I’ve been really enjoying my time with the Sailors. I’m learning a lot from the training sessions and my teammates have been very welcoming as well. I think I can improve my speed and technical skills here,” said Laura.

“I was in the stands when the team played in the Café Football Charity Cup earlier in January, and I really loved the atmosphere that the Sailors fans created at the stadium. I’m really looking forward to being on the pitch and properly contributing to the team.

“To hear the fans sing and chant during the match will give me and the team an extra push to get the result we want.”

While Laura is looking forward to mentoring the Sailors’ fledging youngsters, she believes she, too, can learn from her younger teammates.

“In Germany, I’ve always liked to lead and help the younger ones. I’m still trying my best to improve my English so it may take a little longer to be my usual self on the pitch over here. But it’s not just about me – we’ve many exciting young players in the team, so I can definitely learn how to play quicker and adapt to a faster style of play,” she explained.

Being embedded in an ambitious Sailors setup – one that has laid a solid foundation, with two consecutive Invincibles seasons, Laura is acutely aware she must bring her A-game to maintain the club’s high standards.

“The pressure is huge because we’re expected to win every game – and I know that’s the benchmark, even though we have a relatively new team this year,” said Laura.

“I like this pressure because that keeps us on our toes and gives us the motivation to work hard in each training session. I’m looking forward to competing and battling on the pitch and the goal is very clear – we want to finish as WPL champions again.”