Category Archives: women’s football

Aussie International signs for Arsenal Women

Arsenal Women have signed Australian defender Steph Catley from Melbourne Victory.

This past week the North London side have also signed Swiss midfielder Malin Gut.

In regards the Australian defender, however, the 26-year-old full back, has also played for the Portland Thorns, OL Reign and Orlando Pride in North America.

Catley, who has 82 caps for the Matildas told Sky Sports News she had her heart set on joining Arsenal after experiencing women’s football in Australia and the USA:

“I feel like I have experienced everything I can in the American League and now I want to challenge myself at one of the best clubs in the World.”

“If you look at all of the English clubs, they are all making big signings. Some of the best female players in the world are looking to come here.”

The Australian ultimately decided on joining Arsenal Women due to the manager Joe Montemurro and recent acquisition Caitlin Foord, who played a big part in convincing Catley to relocate to London.

She has also worked with Montemurro at Melbourne, where she made 51 appearances in five seasons, scoring seven goals.

The defender had a season at Portland Thorns FC, where she made 17 appearances, before returning back to Melbourne on loan for a further season.

In December 2015, Portland traded Catley to Orlando Pride in exchange for goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.

Catley signed two other loan agreements with Melbourne City for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, where she captained the side to two Grand Final Championship wins.

A low point of her career happened prior to the 2018-19 season where she underwent knee surgery. She recuperated, and went on to play seven games for City.

Her international career has seen her feature for the Matildas during the 2016 Rio Olympics and last year was rewarded with her performances by being named vice captain in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Man City Women snap up Chloe Kelly on Free Transfer from Everton

Man City Women have bolstered their ranks ahead of the upcoming WSL season with the signing of talented striker Chloe Kelly from Everton.

The England international, rejected a new contract with the Toffees to sign for the Citizens on a three year deal. She will wear the number nine shirt at City, and is new manager Gareth Taylor’s  first signing since taking charge.

The 22 year old started her career at Arsenal, scoring just 22 minutes into her debut against Watford in the Continental Cup in July 2015. She made a further 12 appearances for the Gunners, scoring two more goals, before heading to Everton on loan.

The club were in the WSL 2 at the time and Kelly made nine starts, netting twice, as Everton finished top of the table in the Spring Series. She then returned to Merseyside for a second spell when Everton were promoted to the WSL 1 in 2017.

She made the move permanent in January 2018 and hasn’t looked back since, playing 32 games and scoring 11 goals, earning plaudits for her terrific performances up front.

The majority of those strikes came in 2019-20 as Kelly enjoyed a stellar season. She bagged nine goals in just twelve games in the WSL before the campaign was abruptly ended due to the coronavirus pandemic as Everton finished sixth.

She declined to extend her stay on Merseyside, citing her need to challenge for trophies and to play in Europe as a determining factor in her switch to City.

Kelly is also experienced on the international scene having featured for the Three Lions from U15 level right through to senior level, making her debut for the Lionesses as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Austria in November 2018.

She was also part of the England U20 side who won bronze at the 2018 FIFA U20 World Women’s Cup and has since won three more caps for England.

Upon putting pen to paper, Kelly told City’s official website of her delight at joining the club:

“I’m unbelievably excited. I’m just so happy to have the deal sorted and I can’t wait to get going – I’m honoured to be a City player.

“Manchester City are a hugely ambitious club whose aspirations match my own and as soon as I had my initial discussions with the staff, I knew there and then that it was the place I wanted to be.”

She credits new manager Gareth Taylor, who has taken the reigns after Nick Cushing’s departure, for persuading her to choose Manchester as her new home, stating:

“Having spoken to Gareth too after he joined the team, I could sense immediately what a great manager he is and I was excited by the idea of working with him.”

The signing represents a huge coup for Man City, who were cruelly pipped to the title this season on points per game by Chelsea, who had a game in hand before the curtailment of the WSL.

Taylor expressed his delight at the signing to City’s official website:

“We’re thrilled that Chloe has put pen to paper to join us here at Manchester City.

“She is an incredibly exciting young talent who has broken onto the scene in the Women’s Super League and the England set-up in recent years, but there’s still so much more to come from her.”

City also announced that defender Gemma Bonner has penned a two year contract extension, with the 28 year old telling City’s site:

“I’ve had a really good two years, especially last season. I played some of my best football with some incredible players around me, so I can’t wait to continue that journey.”

The Telegraph has reported that City are close to further strengthening their squad, having agreed deals for Lyon duo Lucy Bronze, who left City for France in 2017 and Alex Greenwood who previously featured for rivals Man United.

They signed short term contracts to allow them to play in the Champions League with the French champions but they are set to leave once the tournament is concluded in August.

Real Madrid all set to launch Women’s team for 2020/21 campaign

Real Madrid has finally ended its wait to launch a women’s team by buying out Madrid based club CD Tacon for 300,000 euros.

Los Blancos were one of the few remaining major European clubs not to have a women’s team but now have been encouraged to invest in the women’s game following in the footsteps of other leading teams such as Manchester United and Juventus.

The official name of the Spanish club is set to be Real Madrid Femenino, replacing that of CD Tacon and the merger will be confirmed once the men’s La Liga season ends on 19 July.

Following the confirmation of the takeover, President Florentino Perez said:

“Real Madrid must be part of this worldwide phenomena and the time has come to face this new challenge and build a football team which is able to compete and of which we can feel proud.”

Madrid’s impending arrival on the Women’s European stage arguably leaves German Bundesliga’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund as the biggest European club not to have a senior women’s team.

Unlike the men’s team, however, the women’s side in the short term at least will be playing catch up with fierce rivals FC Barcelona Femeni and Atletico Madrid Femenino, whose teams are already firmly established in the women’s game.

Players from other leading European clubs have stressed what ‘a huge positive’ the introduction of Real Madrid to the women’s game will be.

Lyon forward, Ada Hegerberg, who was the first winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, said:

“I’m hoping they will stabilise the investment over a long period and that they have a long-term perspective because it can’t happen overnight.”

This view appears to be shared by the Real Madrid President, who, despite the obvious pressure of competing for instant success, has stressed that Los Blancos are planning to invest in young Spanish talent rather than recruiting from abroad.

Indeed, steps have already been put in place so that this is enforced, as there will also be Real teams between U16 and U19 level.

Perez added:

“CD Tacon was chosen because this club has an academy structure which allow us to remain loyal to our philosophy from day one.  As such, we will look to scout, train and develop young talent.”

These positive actions already taken by Los Blancos seem that to indicate they are intent on contributing to the sport’s continuing development and growth and with the top two Spanish Leagues set to go professional next season, the future of women’s football in Spain certainly appears to be heading in the right direction.

Vivianne Miedema named Football Writers Women’s Footballer of the Year

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema has won the Football Writers’ Association Women’s Footballer of the Year award by the narrowest of margins. Miedema claimed the award by just a single vote after missing out last year by the same margin.

She was pushed all the way in the voting by Chelsea’s Bethany England and follows Lionesses forwards Nikita Parris (2019) and Fran Kirby (2018), to be named the third FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year.

Chelsea’s Norwegian talent Guro Reiten and Lyon’s England defender Lucy Bronze were joint third. Both players were named ahead of Manchester City and England Women’s World Cup 2019 Bronze Boot winner Ellen White.

The voting panel also gave special praise to: Steph Houghton and Lauren Hemp from Manchester City, the Chelsea pair of Erin Cuthbert and Sophie Ingle, Rachel Furness, Beth Mead of Arsenal, Lauren James of Manchester United and Chloe Kelly from Everton.

The 23-year-old Miedema was the Women’s Super League’s top scorer this season with 16 goals in 14 appearances. This included a double hat-trick in Arsenal’s 11-1 drubbing of Bristol City in December. She is also currently her country’s leading goalscorer with 60 goals, and also helped Holland reach last year’s World Cup final.

Runner up, England helped Chelsea win this season’s WSL title after the Blues were declared champions on a points-per-game basis and moved above Manchester City, who were top of the table at the time when the league was halted back in March due to the pandemic. The 21-year-old had another outstanding season for Chelsea, scoring 21 goals in all competitions in their 2019/20 double winning campaign.

Bronze, who earlier this week signed a two month contract extension until August 31st at Lyon to enable her to compete in the Champions League when it resumes later in the summer.  The England full back has subsequently agreed terms to join Manchester City ahead of the new Women’s Super League season. It is also understood that Alex Greenwood has decided to join City along with former Everton forward Kelly.

City, who finished runners up to Chelsea in this seasons truncated campaign will start the new season with no less than 12 regular England internationals including Captain Houghton and England’s most capped player Jill Scott.

North Carolina Courage defeat Portland Thorns in opening match of NWSL Challenge Cup

Soccer is back in the U.S.! No, sports are back in the U.S.!

After Utah Jazz centre Ruby Gobert contracted the coronavirus, cancelling their matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 11, there have been no sports across the pond since. The NWSL officially became the first sports league to open up as the defending champion North Carolina Courage opened the Challenge Cup with a 2-1 against the Portland Thorns.

Also, the matchup, played at Zion’s Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, was one for the ages as it was the first time a women’s club soccer games was televised on network TV in the U.S.

After the first match ended with a tie at zero, the Courage were able to get on the board in the 75th-minute. Substitute Hailie Mace crossed the ball to Brazilian star Debinha, who headed the ball into the net from close range.

 

However, the lead was short-lived as five minutes later, the Thorns and recent World Cup winner Lindsey Horan had a long-range pass to Simone Charley, who headed the equaliser.

 

In the fourth minute of extra time, Lynn Williams had the game-winning goal after heading in a cross from Samantha Mewis.

 

Sports fans in the States were waiting patiently for the return of sports and the NWSL held the privilege of being the first league back in the U.S.