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Former Melbourne Victory player Rachel Alonso signs for Essendon Royals

Former Melbourne Victory A-League Women player Rachel Alonso is a Royal.

The Essendon Royals are ecstatic to welcome Alonso to the club, as senior women’s coach Vince Battiato continues to build a squad with fantastic depth and culture ahead of the new season.

Alonso, who racked up 13 A-League Women’s appearances between three stints at Melbourne Victory (2012/13 and 2016/17 seasons) and Adelaide United (2014/15) represents a major coup for the Royals as the club continues to prepare for a promotion tilt in the new season.

Starting her career as a junior at Eltham Redbacks, Alonso played most of her junior years with and against the boys, before eventually taking her first steps in the Victorian Premier League with Bundoora United as an 18-year-old.

Picked up by Melbourne Victory after a successful first senior season, Alonso eventually signed her second A-League Women’s contract with Adelaide United, before signing with Calder United for the inaugural National Premier Leagues Women’s season.

Another stint at Victory followed, before resuming her NPL duties at Alamein.

In 2021, Alonso started the season with Bulleen, before spending the final part of the ill-fated season with Bundoora United.

Seeking a fresh start in 2022, Alonso opted for the Royals thanks to the club’s short and medium-term ambitions and the emphasis placed on women’s football at the club.

“After making the decision to move away from NPL football, I really liked what I was hearing from Vince in terms of the direction the Royals want to head in and the ways in which I can contribute,” she said.

“Women’s football is very exciting right now, and there are a lot more opportunities for players, so to be a part of a team fighting for promotion is very enticing and I can’t wait to get started.”

Coach Battiato was delighted to be able to confirm Alonso’s signing not just for her on-field talents, but for the calibre of character she brings to the first-team squad as well.

“Rachel is a stellar human being,” he said.

“She has an exceptional attitude off the pitch, which I value even more highly than the obvious footballing ability. Her experience and leadership will only add to the already outstanding culture we have at the club.”

Of course, having talent in abundance on the field is a significant bonus as well.

“Rachel has shown herself to be an exceptional football talent at the highest level already and it shows how much she values the growth of Women’s football that she has dived headfirst into my vision for the club,” Battiato said.

“She still has plenty of great years in her and her joining us at Essendon sets a real marker for what impact Royal’s are trying to have in Women’s football.”

Alonso’s signing forms part of a big off-season for the Royals as Battiato shapes the squad in his vision.

“I think we are building a squad that has a solid but very balanced depth,” he said.

“A great 11 wins you matches but a great squad will win you championships. The squad we are amassing is full of great players but also players with a great attitude, willing to buy into the vision of the club. As a collective, we promise we will give this league a real shake up.”