The FA Women’s Super League – An Overview

By: Fred Thurbin @RLF86

For anyone unaware the Women’s Super League or WSL in England is soon getting underway again, so with that in mind I thought I would write a short preview of each team to give listeners an insight to who’s who and who to watch, hope you enjoy.

Cups up for grabs:
FA WSL (Women’s super league)
FA Women’s Cup
Continental Cup
Champions League (I believe I am right in saying it has never been won by an English team)

ArsenalArsenal LFC
Manager: Pedro Martinez Losa
Captain: Alex Scott
Opening game of the season: Reading (Home)

Holders of the Continental Cup or the FA WSL Cup, (a domestic cup sponsored by Continental Tyres) who have won the competition 4 out of the five times since its creation.

Finished third in the FA WSL under their new manager and have some work to do if they wish to win the league for the third time in its new format. The most success women’s team with 40 major trophies (according to Wiki) and ploy their trade at the Meadow Park, Borehamwood admissions £6 for adults, concessions £3. Family ticket £14 which includes 2 adults and 2 u16s.

Possess promising young players in Jemma Rose, Leah Williamson, Katie McCabe and Dominique Janssen to name a few, as well as experience in Kelly Smith, Casy Stoney, Alex Scott and Emma Byrne.

Off season signings: Danielle Van de Donk, Fara Williams

Player to watch: Jorden Nobbs

A promising young midfield player (24), strong, aggressive and with an eye for goal (27 in 58 game) picked up an injury on international duty at the 2015 World Cup, but returned to score a brace in the Continental cup final for The Arsenal.

 

BCBirmingham City LFC
Manager: David Parker
Captain: (I believe it was Karen Carney who has left)
Opening game of the season: Liverpool (Away)

Blues fans are concurned with recent departures, Karen Carney (Chelsea), Becky Spencer (Chelsea) and Chelsea Weston (no relation to the city). Spencer is a promising young goal keeper and the Blue’s fans will be hoping Sophie Baggaley will be able to step into her shoes and players like Jo Potter can fill the void of the established England international Carney.

Ground: The Autotech Stadium, Solihull

Player to watch: Melissa Lawley

Signing a new contract in January with the Blues, Lawley was described by manager David Parker as having a ‘massive future at the club’ and at just 21 has a wealth of experience for such a tender age representing Arsenal, Bristol Academy and England from U15, U17, and U19s.

 

ChelseaChelsea LFC
Manager: Emma Hayes (I believe she was the only female manager last season)
Captain: Katie Chapman
Opening game of the season: Doncaster Rovers Belles (Away)

Holders of the WSL and FA Cup, Chelsea have a big season to live up too. However, they seem intent on doing just that, four new signings already, Becky Spencer (GK), Jade Bailey (MF), Karen Casey (MF) and Bethany England (MF) as well as the capture midseason of the previous campaign of Fran Kirby for a record fee. What else to say about Chelsea? My mother taught me; if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything

Ground: Wheatsheaf Park, Staines

Player to watch: Fran Kirby

Hard to look past Fran Kirby, small, agile, technically gifted, wide forward with an eye for a goal, this fine winger caught the eye in the World Cup with a fine goal against Mexico. Came back from the world cup and picked up an injury her stats on Wiki are rather impressive. For Reading, played 42 scored 67, for Chelsea played 6 scored 5, for England played 15 scored 5.

 

DRDoncaster Rovers Belles LFC
Manager: Glen Harris
Captain: Leandra Little
Opening game of the season: Chelsea (Home)

Newly promoted Doncaster have a tough opening to the season, but are building a bright future for themselves opening a new training centre and signing five new players as well as loaning The Arsenal’s very own teenage talent Carla Humphrey’s. The club handed their first ever professional contract in November of 201 to Emily Simpkins and the club have promised a further 10 to follow so there is an understandable air of excitement around this club.

Ground: Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster

Player to watch: Kasia Lipka

Not your typical player to watch as her style isn’t one that stands out but her hard work and honest approach makes everyone’s job around her a little simpler. Always willing to receive the ball and keeping her up for the quick pass Lipka can become a core player for the team and a proper hipsters choice.

 

LiverpoolLiverpool LFC
Manager: Scott Rodgers (newly hired)
Captain: Gemma Bonner
Opening game of the season: Birmingham City (Home)

Liverpool will be deeply disappointed with their form last season, having won the league in 12/13 and retained it in 13/14 season and reinvigorating their team in the hope of dominating the sport for years to come they struggle to find any form. Bringing in new players Van De Sanden, Alex Greenwood, Natasha Harding, Caroline Weir and Sophie Ingle and releasing Fara Williams, Rebecca Easton, Natasha Dowie Katrin Omarsdottir, Liverpool are looking to freshen things up and hope to avoid relegation for the second time in 4 seasons.

Ground: Select Security Stadium, Cheshire

Player to watch: Caroline Weir

This highly rated Scottish international is only 20 years of age and joins from Bristol City who was relegated in the previous season. Signed to help bolster the midfield and add a threat to goal with 3 goals in her 8 games at Bristol and 5 from 23 at international level Weir will be looking to build a name for her as a true goal threat.

 

MC

Manchester City Women’s Football Club

Manager: Nick Cushing
Captain: Steph Houghton
Opening game of the season: Notts County(Home)

Starting the previous season poorly, they then went on a 13 match unbeaten stint winning 12 games and losing out on the title on the last day of the season and have a large and growing support breaking the league attendance record twice and will be hoping to turn themselves into a powerhouse of the sport, if their gate receipts continue to grow then that can only be a good thing for the sport.

Ground: Academy Stadium, Manchester

Player to watch: Toni Duggan

A floating striker come winger Duggan has an eye for goal and a head for one as well, scoring some beauties along the way (including one against Arsenal in the driving rain to make me thoroughly miserable having already watched the men’s team lose). Duggan is keen to receive the ball and drive at players and has great technique to control and loose the ball at goal.

 

NCNotts County LFC
Manager: Rick Passmoor
Captain: Sophie Bradley
Opening game of the season: Manchester City (Away)

Formed in 2014 when Lincoln Ladies were moved to Nottingham and with articles on their website starting with “Lady Pies”, I’m not sure what to say about them… They a new academy has been launched by Central College Nottingham so if you have any young daughters and live near the area check it out.

Ground: Meadow Lane, Nottingham

Player to watch: Fern Whelan

Having missed the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons Whelan is a quick and strong defender who continues to have a few niggley injuries but is a threat from a set piece with a couple of goals to her name and will be hoping a clean run through the season will see her return to the England team.

 

ReadingReading FC Women
Manager: Kelly Chambers
Captain: Kirsty McGee
Opening game of the season: Arsenal (Away)

Wining the promotion as champions Reading will be looking to consolidate their position in the WSL this season. Handing out a swath of professional contracts and new job roles the Royals and big money from the Fran Kirby departure perhaps they are looking for more than just to consolidate and have their eyes set on a big future?

Ground: Adams Park

Player to watch: Melissa Fletcher

A promising young Welsh international, Fletcher is a quick, skilful winger who will be looking to come back from injury in time for the new season. Her goals were integral to winning the league last season and will be looking to pick up where she left off once fully fit.

 

SunderlandSunderland AFC Ladies
Manager: Carlton Fairweather
Captain: Stephanie Bannon
Opening game of the season: Reading (Home)

A surprise package last season, winning against league holders Liverpool and trouncing champion elect Chelsea; Sunderland took to the league like a duck eventually finishing fourth behind the old guard of Arsenal, and big spenders, City and Chelsea. If they add to a promising squad then this might be a shock season for them to rival Leicester.

Ground: The Hetton Centre, Hetton-le-Hole

Player to watch: Bethany Mead

This is a goal scorer plain and simple. She will get you goals, then a few more and then top it off with another. 12 goals in 14 league games, quick, natural, instinctive, this player has huge potential and is possibly my choice for player to watch above the skilful dribbler Kirby and highly talented Duggan. This is Alan Shearer on steroids. Come on Arsenal, sign her up!