Bay FC signs Zambian soccer star Racheal Kundananji for reported $787,000 world record fee

Bay FC, the newest team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), has made an ambitious statement of intent ahead of the upcoming season by signing Zambian international Racheal Kundananji.

Kundananji reposted the team announcement on her Instagram account. She is believed to be the most expensive female soccer player in history.

“People in Zambia will be surprised, but they will be so happy,” the forward told BBC Sport Africa. “I want to give the [Bay FC] fans what they want – to enjoy the games, to enjoy seeing me playing and scoring.”

Kundananji joins Bay FC from Spanish side Madrid CFF for a reported world record fee of €735,000 (around $787,000), according to multiple reports including ESPN. CNN has contacted Bay FC, Madrid CFF and the NWSL regarding the transfer fee.

The contract runs through the 2027 season with an option for an additional year in 2028, Bay FC said.

“We are delighted to add Racheal to our group,” Bay FC general manager Lucy Rushton said in a press release from the club. “She is a tremendous talent with dynamic attacking qualities and an incredible physical profile who has produced for both club and country.

Kundananji dribbles the ball against Real Madrid in a Liga F match last month. - Diego Souto/Getty Images
Kundananji dribbles the ball against Real Madrid in a Liga F match last month. - Diego Souto/Getty Images

“Racheal has a composure in-front of goal and a natural ability to score with different types of finishes and from various locations.

“We believe she will continue to grow and develop at our club, showcasing her skillset and adding to the array of exciting talent we have here.”

The 23-year-old Kundananji has scored eight league goals in 14 appearances for Madrid CFF this campaign and netted 25 times in 29 games last season, ending the year as the second-top-scorer in Spain’s Liga F.

The first African player – male or female – to break the transfer record, she will join Nigerian striker Asisat Oshoala and Scottish defender Jen Beattie at the San Jose-based Bay FC, which will become the 14th team in the NWSL this coming season.

Prior to representing Madrid CFF, Kundananji played for Spanish side Eibar and BIIK Kazygurt in Kazakhstan, where she won back-to-back league titles.

She represented Zambia at last year’s Women’s World Cup – the country’s first appearance at the tournament – and scored in a 3-1 win against Costa Rica.

The new NSWL season starts on March 16. Bay FC was established in April last year, co-founded by former US Women’s National Team players Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner along with financial backing from global investment firm Sixth Street.

CNN’s David Close contributed to reporting.

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