The Houston Dash signed defender Janine Van Wyk, pending receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate, the club announced today.

 

“I’m very excited that Janine will join the Dash in 2017. She was recently named as one of the four finalists for the African Footballer of the Year Award – that is the quality she brings to the team,” head coach Randy Waldrum said. “Janine also brings a wealth of international experience to the club. I felt we had to address our central defending positions this offseason and add more experience and leadership, Janine certainly fills that need.”

 

The 29-year-old has 142 appearances with South African Women’s National team and made her debut as a 17-year-old in 2005 against Nigeria in the African Women’s Championship. The defender scored off a free kick and led South Africa to its first victory over Nigeria since the national team was established in 1993. The defender has appeared in two Olympic Games (2012, 2016) and was a member of the national teams that finished second in the 2008 and 2012 Africa Women Cup of Nations.

 

In 2012, Van Wyk founded the JvW girl’s school league to promote soccer at a grassroots level. The defender purchased the rights to a Sasol League team, the premier division of women’s soccer in the country, a year later. The Alberton, South Africa native has served as a player-coach since the club’s inception. The club finished the 2016 season as a runner-up to Bloemfontein Celtic on Dec. 11.

 

Van Wyk is the first South African player to sign for the club and she is the second player to sign for the team this offseason.