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Haley Bugeja on the brink of NWSL move

Malta women’s starlet Haley Bugeja is set for a new chapter in her career as she is on the brink of signing for an NWSL club, the Times of Malta can reveal.

The Times of Malta understands that the NWSL club proposed an important offer for the Maltese player and Bugeja together with her representatives – Sports Pro Management and Consultancy – are in the final stages of concluding the negotiations with the NWSL club.

The NWSL – National Women’s Soccer League – is the main championship for women teams in the United States.

It is considered one of the strongest leagues in the women’s game with several popular players plying their trade in this championship.

The 2022 campaign commenced back in April with Bugeja set to be involved in the second part of the season which runs until October. The Malta women’s player is expected to be on board at the same club for the whole campaign in the following year as well.

The United States women’s team – four-time world champions and four-time gold medallists in the Olympic Games – have several players spread across their home league, making it very exciting and attractive for the general public to watch. 

Bugeja has been on the books of Serie A club Sassuolo for the past two seasons. She took the Italian top-flight by a storm in her debut year after topping Sassuolo’s scoring charts with 12 goals.

In total, she scored 15 goals in 36 games in all competitions for Sassuolo including one in the final game of this season in a 2-1 victory over giants Inter.

Her strong showings in her first Italian year helped her become an established figure in European football, winning the Serie A Femminile Young Player of the Year Season and earning a nomination to be part of the Italian Footballers Association’s Serie A Team of the Year as well.

At international level, Bugeja has seven goals in 14 caps for the Malta women’s national team.

She is the only Maltese player – men or women – to have scored a hat-trick in an official match for Malta after scoring three goals in a 4-1 victory away at Georgia during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifications. In the process, she also become the youngest women player to score a hat-trick in a UEFA or FIFA European qualifier.

In 2021, Bugeja was named by UEFA in its top 10 female players to watch out for while she has been included for two years in a row in the Goal NXGN list – in 2021 and 2022.

She was also named in the IFFHS Women’s U-20’s Best XI in 2021 and 2022.

Most recently, she was also included among the best players aged 21 and under in a selection conducted by ESPN.

Bugeja had already made a name for herself in Malta before embarking in the Serie A, after winning the 2019 Malta FA Women’s Player of the Year at the age of 15-year-old.

In her final season in Malta – 2019/2020 – she had scored 23 goals in the senior league while found the net 50 times in the U-19’s championship.

In 2021, Bugeja was also crowned as Malta’s Sportswoman of the Year after the Malta women’s national team had picked up the Team of the Year award as well.

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