West Ham Women have announced the signing of 24-year-old Japanese International, Riko Ueki.  

Riko has joined West Ham, subject to a work permit being granted,  ahead of the 23/24 Women’s Super League campaign following an impressive run in this years FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

The Japanese striker played all five games for her country in Australia for the World Cup, scoring a goal and an assist against eventual winners Spain, and bagged a goal against Zambia.  Ueki has had 25 caps for Japan since her breakout year in 2022, and in her debut year scored 8 goals in just 11 appearances. 

Ueki will become the third Japanese player to join the Hammers, alongside Risa Shimizu and Honoka Hayashi. 

The player made the move to top flight league from WE League team, Tokyo Verdy Beleza, where she made her debut in the senior team in 2016, marking her first game with a goal in the League Cup game against Speranza Osaka.  She has accumulated 130 appearances for her former club and also helped them to win successive league titles between 2016 and 2019.  

“West Ham United is a team steeped in history and I’m really happy to be to be signing for such a great Club,” Ueki said in an interview with West Ham TV. “When I made the decision to join the Club, I felt I needed to test myself in Europe. I think I will be able to improve as a footballer here and in doing so, do my best for the team as well.

“I have been in contact with Honoka [Hayashi] and Risa [Shimizu], and they were both really happy, encouraging and supportive for this move. 

“I’m now looking forward to meeting my other teammates and getting started in Claret and Blue.”

West Ham Women’s manager Rehanne Skinner is excited to bring Riko into the team ahead of the new season.

“Riko is a talented Japanese centre-forward who has had a successful summer with her country at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, being pivotal in her team’s progress throughout the tournament,” she confirmed. 

“Riko’s biggest assets from a skillset perspective are the timing of her movement and understanding of the game to try and create goalscoring opportunities.

“Riko has a variety of goalscoring skills, is very energetic and enthusiastic, and will help us to be more effective with our defensive set-up from the front. 

“She will form a fantastic part of the forward line within our team and I’m really excited to be working with her moving forwards.”

Everyone at The West Ham Way welcome’s Riko and wishes her all the success at West Ham!

Written by Katie Vine.