by Paddy von Behr
PAIGE Williams is ready to write a new chapter in her fledgling career after an unexpected trip to Italy came out of the blue.
By the 20-year-old left-back’s own admission, this past season with Everton was a bitter disappointment.
A third-place finish in FA WSL 2 – 15 points adrift from the top two – ensured the Toffees, who dropped down in 2014, will spend another season in the second tier.
Williams, however, didn’t have to dwell too long on the frustration, with Champions League quarter-finalists Brescia in the market for a defender and her name on the shortlist.
She got the gig and the full-back, who has been at Everton since the age of 14, flew out on Friday to link up with her new teammates.
“Going abroad is something I have always wanted to do and it gives me an opportunity to train every day through the winter,” she said. “It is a chance to open new doors and explore a bit.
“I think this was a season of getting used to things and, hopefully, Everton are going to bounce back next year. It is different to WSL 1 and I think that experience will serve them well.
“It is probably one of the most frustrating seasons I have ever had. We had too many draws and our good performances came too late in the season.
“But it does give me a lot of confidence that, after a disappointing season, something like this can happen.
“I think it is just for the winter, but I can’t say I will definitely be back next summer. I am just looking to develop as a player.”
It might appear an interesting quirk of fate that Brescia would come calling. After all, they are the side that knocked Everton’s Merseyside rivals, Liverpool, out of the Champions League last month.
That’s the reason, it turns out, why Williams was on the Italian side’s radar in the first place.
“Brescia were over here for the Champions League, playing Liverpool,” she said. “A few people got talking and it came about they were in need of a defender.
“I went over last week for a trial. That was my first time in Italy. I was quite busy training, but I got to go out a little bit on the last night and have a look around.
“I just need to learn the language now, but there are a few girls who speak fluent English.
“I have caught a few of their games and they are a really exciting team. I want to get in there straight away. It is just a case of whether I’m registered or not.”
If she is able to feature straight away, a Champions League quarter-final could be on the cards after Brescia knocked out Danish side Fortuna Hjørring this week in the round of 16.
While Williams has swapped WSL 2 for Europe’s elite, she won’t forget her club, friends and family back home.
She added: “I have been checking the weather over there and it’s not much better! I am going to miss the team. I will miss home but I’m ready – more than ready – to fly the nest.”