NEW DELHI — It's a moment of pride not just for 22-year-old Aditi Chauhan, but also for the entire country today.
Goalkeeper of India's national football team, Aditi has signed a deal with the English football club West Ham United's women's team, becoming the first woman player from the country to play for the first eleven of a top club in England.
This is no small feat for someone from a country where cricket gets the lion's share of attention and sponsorships.
The sportswoman from Delhi was signed pre-season by the third-tier London club for one year from Loughborough University in Leicestershire, where she recently completed an MSc in sports management.
West Ham Ladies are currently in the Football Association's (FA) Women's Premier League Southern Division, a league in the third level in the women's football structure in England. West Ham's senior men's team is a regular at England's top-flight football, the EPL.
— West Ham Ladies (@westhamladies) August 17, 2015
Aditi's football journey kicked off when her school coach asked her to participate in the Delhi under-19 team trials. She was appreciated for her contribution to India winning the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) women's cup in 2013.
Thank you all for the overwhelming response and wishes. I will work hard to make this opportunity count @westhamladies
— Aditi Chauhan (@aditi03chauhan) August 17, 2015
Football isn't the only sport Aditi loves. She has a black belt in karate, represented her school in various zonal and inter-zonal athletic meets for discus throw, javelin throw and shot put and has even represented the Delhi state team in basketball.
With Chauhan joining West Ham, India now has two national team goalkeepers plying their trade in Europe. Recently, the Indian men team's goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, a 23-year-old, played for Stabaek FC in Norway.
Aditi is the third Indian passport holder to join a British football club after Mohammed Salim played for Scottish giants Celtic FC in 1936 and Bhaichung Bhaichung Bhutia featured for Bury FC from 1999 till 2002.
WATCH: Aditi Chauhan's post-match interview after West Ham's 5-0 loss to Coventry Ladies.