Huge honour for Reading FC WomenFrancesca Kirby is set to become the first player in the history of Reading FC Women to turn professional.
The prolific striker has already enjoyed a dream campaign, scoring on her England debut in a 4-0 victory over Sweden and finishing as the country's top goalscorer at club level with an astonishing 29 goals in 22 games.
Kirby, who has been with Reading since the age of seven, helped the Royals to a third placed finish in WSL2 - emerging as one of the female game's brightest stars.
"This is huge for me," she told readingfc.co.uk. "Being able to train every day and do what I love to do on a daily basis is amazing. Hopefully next season we can get promoted and more girls can follow in my footsteps by turning professional."
Signing professional terms will be a huge boost in her side's promotion hopes ahead of the start of the new season in the summer of 2015, whilst Fran will even train with the club's male Academy players as she makes the transition to full time football.
Kelly Chambers, General Manager of Women's and Girls Football at Reading FC, said: "We are bursting with pride at this news. To produce a professional player from our own Academy is a great honour and Fran deserves all the credit that comes her way. She is an outstanding talent who we hope will continue to improve in the coming years."
Sir John Madejski said: “Once again we offer our whole hearted congratulations to Fran. She is one of our own, having joined the club at a very young age, and to become the first professional player to emerge from our women’s set up makes everybody associated with the club very proud. She no doubt has a long and prestigious career ahead of her and we wish her every success with both club and country.”