Captain of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana will be lost to home soil after she signed a contract with Houston Dash that plays in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the USA, pending receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.
Van Wyk joins a list of other Banyana Banyana players plying their trade in America – Jermaine Seoposenwe, Robyn Moodaly, Kelso Peskin and Kaylin Swart.
Also playing abroad is goalkeeper Roanne Barker who joined a Dutch side after the Rio Olympic Games.
The Banyana Banyana skipper is the first South African to join the club, and becomes their second signing as they prepare for 2017.
She is expected to join her new side in March on a two year contract.
“It’s an opportunity I have been dreaming of and working hard for throughout my career. It has certainly come at the perfect moment. I know I will go there with tons of experience, which gives me the confidence to know I will fit in well with this team. They were in need of a central defender with leadership qualities and I guess I fit the bill, and that’s one of my strengths as a player,” said an excited Van Wyk.
“I am looking forward to go and represent not only South Africa but the whole of Africa with pride. It’s time people out there notice how good and talented African footballers really are. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to my success – coaches, teammates, friends and family for pushing me beyond my limits and believing in the athlete I am. I will go out there and SHINE for you.”
Quoted on the club’s website, head coach of Houston Dash, Randy Waldrum, had this to say:
“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,” said Waldrum.
“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.”
This has been a very good year for Janine.
Just recently she was nominated for the 2016 Glo-CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award, which will be announced in the new year.
She helped Banyana Banyana book a place at the Rio Olympic Games in August, and also led the squad to fourth-place at the 2016 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in November.
Under her captaincy, the South African Senior Women’s National Team has also been selected for Women’s National Team of the Year.
Van Wyk was also instrumental in JVW’s second place finish, in their first attempt, at the 2016 Sasol League National Championship in Mosselbaai early this month.
She is still the highest capped footballer in South Africa with 142 appearances for the national team.
She has represented Banyana Banyana at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
NB: The Houston Dash is a professional women’s soccer team based in Houston, Texas. They joined the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the 2014 season. They play their matches at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.