Ardwick-born England Under-19 goalkeeper Khiara Keating has signed her first professional contract with Manchester City.
Keating, 18, has signed a two year deal to stay at the Academy Stadium having joined the club’s youth setup in 2015 and spent time on loan at AFC Fylde.
The England Under-19 international made five appearances in all competitions last term including an impressive performance in a televised 1-1 draw against Arsenal as City suffered with an injury crisis.
The local-born player had made her debut only in January in the Continental Tyres Cup against Leicester City – keeping a clean sheet in a 5-0 win before going on to make her WSL bow in a 3-0 victory away at Aston Villa.
Speaking about her first ever professional deal, Keating said: “It’s a very proud moment for myself and my family – I’ve been in and around the first team for a while now, but to now officially be a professional player is just amazing.
“The opportunities I had last season were unbelievable – at the time, they felt a little surreal!
“For my debut, I was told literally just before kick-off as Karima [Benameur Taieb] had picked up an injury in the warm-up, so it was nerves and excitement all rolled into one when I was out there, but it went really well.
“At the start of the season, my goal was just to learn and soak up as much as I could from the girls, but to play five games was beyond my expectations.
“The fans have been amazing too and I cannot thank them enough for their support so far.
“To go from being an Academy player and college student, to training and playing alongside senior internationals in the squad, it definitely helped me to mature both on and off the pitch and I’m so excited for what else is to come.”
Head Coach Gareth Taylor added: “This is completely deserved for Khiara – she worked incredibly hard last season and really stepped up to the plate when we needed her most.
“She is a talented young goalkeeper and has a bright future ahead of her and here at City, Ellie [Roebuck] and Sandy [MacIver] are great role models for her to learn from and work with.
“We’re really looking forward to working with her over the coming years and helping her to continue her growth and development both on and off the pitch.”