Ayres bolsters attacking options

Melbourne Victory has added to its impressive young W-League stocks, signing 18-year-old striker Melina Ayres to a one-year deal.

Ayres arrives at Victory via City, where she made 12 appearances over the last two seasons.

In watching Ayres play both at City and for South Melbourne in the Women’s NPL, Victory’s W-League coach Jeff Hopkins is impressed with what he’s seen.

“She’s got a lot more to her than an eye for goal, even though that’s obviously a quality that you want in your striker,” Hopkins said.

“She gives us flexibility to potentially play with two strikers as well.”

In addition to playing up front, Ayres can also play wide if required.

Hopkins’ comments accompanying the previous signings this week has indicated the importance of players who can play in multiple positions. Unsurprisingly Ayres fits right into the growing image of the team.

“To start off with we’ll most probably look to play her as a wide player,” Hopkins explained.

“In some games we may be able to play with two up top or a little bit staggered maybe.

“She’s quiet, hard-working and she’s conscientious about how she prepares and I’m looking forward to working with her.”

Ayres’ ability to read play unfolding gives her the ability to play in multiple positions, and it’s a skill that is extremely rare to find.

“You notice when the ball goes wide or it’s about to come into the box, you watch her movement and she naturally knows where to be.

“She’ll pull off the shoulder of players, get into space and has a knack of knowing where the ball’s going to go or where it might come to.

“Sometimes you can’t really coach that.”

Stay tuned to melbournevictory.com.au for further signing announcements

Previous signing announcements

Monday: Casey Dumont and Bethany Mason-Jones
Tuesday: Angela Beard
Wednesday: Kyra Cooney-Cross and Mindy Barbieri
Thursday: Gulcan Koca