Canadian forward Adrian Leon leaves West Ham for Manchester United

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Canadian striker Adriana Leon is leaving England's West Ham for Manchester United.

The 29-year-old from King City, Ont., who spent the last 3 1/2 seasons with the Hammers, has signed with the Red Devils through the end of the 2023-24 season.

"Adriana is a player that will excite our fans and offer valuable experience both on and off the field," United coach Marc Skinner said in a statement. "I was extremely impressed with Adriana's character, as she expressed confidence and fearlessness when we discussed her coming to Manchester United.

"Her flexibility to play in multiple positions effectively, while attacking and defending one-on-one duels with ferocity, will add excellent variety to our continuously developing team."

Manchester United finished fourth last season in the FA Women's Super League with a 12-4-6 record.

Leon scored 13 goals in 59 appearances for West Ham. On the international front, she has 23 goals in 81 appearances for Canada.

"I couldn't be more thrilled and honoured to join this historic football club," Leon said in a statement. "To be the first Canadian female player to play for Manchester United fills me with immense pride and excitement. I can’t wait to join this talented group and put on the famous red jersey."

Leon is currently with Canada at the CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico.

"I'm super-happy and super-proud for here. I think it's a great move for her," said fellow Canadian forward Janine Beckie, a former Manchester City player now with the NWSL Portland Thorns.

"I think she'll be challenged in a different way at United than she was at West Ham. They're obviously a top contender in the WSL which just continues to grow every single year."

Added Canada coach Bev Priestman: "I'm thrilled for Adriana because this is probably the height of her career. It's the sharpest I've ever seen her. She's had two major injuries (and) fought back. She was critical for us in the (Tokyo) Olympics — you think of that Team GB (Great Britain) goal.

"And I think going to a club like Manchester United, that scrutiny, that expectation is only going to push Adriana to where she really wants to be come the World Cup and the Olympic Games."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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