Category Archives: WSL

USA World Cup winner joins Manchester City Women

United States World Cup winner Sam Mewis has joined Manchester City from North Carolina Courage.

The 27-year-old has played 67 times for her country and featured regularly during last year’s World Cup.  The American started in her side’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Lyon.

The midfielder becomes City’s second signing this summer after England striker Chloe Kelly joined from Everton.

Mewis follows in the footsteps of her USA team mate Carli Lloyd, who had a brief spell with Manchester City back in 2017.

Standing at 6ft tall gives her presence on set pieces and she also has long athletic strides which has seen her become effective with goals from long range.

Sam was born in Weymouth Massachusetts in 1992. She signed for the Pali Blues in the W League in 2013, where the side went on to lift the Western Conference title as well as the national championships.

Mewis was selected fourth overall by the Western New York Flash in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League entry draft. She appeared in all twenty regular season games for the Flash scoring four times with four assists.

In 2017 the Western New York Flash was sold to new owners and rebranded as the North Carolina Courage. She had an excellent season for the Courage after appearing in every game she was named to the NWSL Best X1.

Mewis missed the beginning of the 2018 season after recovering from a knee operation. Despite this setback she still featured 17 times as the Courage won their second consecutive shield.

Due to her participation at the 2019 World Cup, she only appeared in 12 regular season games for the Courage, who went on to win the shield for the third consecutive year.

In a successful international career to date which has seen Mewis feature in six of seven matches in the 2019 World Cup, she scored twice in the tournament in a 13-0 annihilation of Thailand in the group stages.

In her six years to date in USA national colours she has made 67 appearances and scored 18 goals.

Her USA team mate Rose Lavelle is heavily linked with City and alongside Caroline Weir and Jill Scott featuring in midfield the signing of Mewis only strengthens the Manchester clubs pursuit of more honours next season.

The Football Association announces opening two rounds of fixtures for WSL 2020-21 season

The FA have confirmed that defending champions Chelsea FC will begin their title defence away at Casey Stoney’s Manchester United side on the 6 September.

The season will however begin behind closed doors until it is safe for fans to return and the full fixture list will subsequently be released in early September.

Fans will, however, be able to watch matches live via the online FA Player streaming platform.

The Blues were awarded the title on a point’s per game basis after the season’s remaining matches were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Subsequently, this saw the West London club awarded the title ahead of their rivals, Manchester City.

Emma Hayes team played The Red Devils twice last season coming away with two 1-0 victories, the last win came courtesy of a Maren Mjelde goal in the Continental League Cup Semi Final encounter back in January of this year.

Chelsea women have already had a successful transfer window to date as 2019/20 player of the year, Beth England has already committed to the club by signing a new long-term contract.

While the likes of England international centre-half Millie Bright and Scotland’s Erin Cuthbert have also pledged their futures to the West London side.

Manchester City meanwhile begin their first full season under their new manager, Gareth Taylor and are away at newly promoted side Aston Villa, who are playing in the top flight of women’s football for the first time in their history.

Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal, who are looking to reclaim the WSL crown from their London rivals, start their campaign at home to Reading.  Elsewhere, Hope Powell’s Brighton team host Birmingham City, who narrowly avoided relegation last season.

While rounding off the opening series of matches is a London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United and West Midlands side Bristol City play Everton.

Opening two rounds of WSL fixtures

6 September 

Arsenal v Reading
Aston Villa v Manchester City
Brighton and Hove Albion v Birmingham City
Bristol City v Everton
Manchester United v Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

13 September 

Chelsea v Bristol City
Birmingham City v Manchester United
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion
Reading v Aston Villa
West Ham United v Arsenal

England’s Jodie Taylor moves to French side Lyon

England’s Jodie Taylor has joined French side Lyon until the end of 2020, the club have announced.

The former Arsenal striker moves to France on a short-term deal from OL Reign in the United States.

The 34-year-old who has also had spells in Australia, Sweden, Canada and the USA will join fellow Lionesses Lucy Bronze, Nikita Parris and Alex Greenwood.

Lyon are currently in the Champions League and face Bayern Munich in a quarter-final in Bilbao on the 22nd August, where  Taylor will be eligible to play.

She told Lyon’s website:

“I can’t wait to play with my new team. I just finished my season with OL reign in the USA, but I kind of stay in the same family.

“I talked a lot with my English teammates like Lucy Bronze who has been at the club for a long time, and I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to play for one of the best teams in the world.”

Taylor has represented her country in the last two World Cups and was the top scorer at Euro 2017.

It has been quite a journey for the Birkenhead born player, who made her debut for Tranmere Rovers in 2002 at the age of 15. She scored in a 5-1 win over Wolves in the FA Women’s Cup fifth round and has never looked back since.

When Tranmere were relegated in 2004 Jodie accepted a four-year scholarship to Oregon State University. When she left Tranmere, she had an impressive record of 29 goals in 38 appearances, despite missing six months with a broken leg.

After playing for a host of sides in the States, she returned to England in 2011 and signed for Birmingham City but moved on to Lincoln Ladies on loan. Lincoln wanted to keep Taylor but she returned to her parent club Birmingham following a stint with Melbourne Victory.

Following spells with Sydney FC, Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns FC she joined Arsenal where she made twelve appearances for the North London Side.

Less than two years later Taylor left Arsenal to sign for Melbourne City on a short-term contract. OL Reign came in for her services in 2018 where she spent two years in America having made 22 appearances and scoring nine goals.

On the international front Taylor made her debut for England in August 2014 in the sides 4-0 friendly win over Sweden at Hartlepool. At the Euros in 2017 she won the highly acclaimed award of the Golden Boot with five goals in the tournament as England reached the semi-finals.

JT

Houston Dash defeat Chicago Red Stars in NWSL Challenge Cup final

After being the first professional sports league to return in the United States, the NWSL concluded the Challenge Cup today with the Houston Dash defeating the Chicago Red Stars 2-0.

The Dash got off to quick start when Kristie Mewie drew a penalty after being fouled by Kayla Sharples in the fourth minute. Sophie Schmidt capitalised from the spot to help them take an early lead. That would end up being the only goal in the first half.

 

For much of the second half, both teams were not able to add to the scoresheet. However, in the first minute of extra-time, the Dash were on a breakaway and Shea Groom received a through ball from Rachel Daly, where she was able to put the ball past U.S. national team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. The goal would end up clinching the title for Houston.

 

The club is owned by several prominent athletes such as boxer Oscar de la Hoya and NBA superstar James Harden  but the Dash have never been able to compete in the NWSL. In fact, since the club was founded on December 11, 2013, they have never qualified for the playoffs. This makes the Challenge Cup the franchise’s first piece of silverware in its history.

 

On the other side, the Chicago Red Stars lost a key player in Sam Kerr. The Australian international departed the NWSL for Chelsea after winning the Golden Boot three years in a row. However, they were able to succeed without the goal-scoring machine and were able to finish up as runners-up in the tournament. 

These two teams were not supposed to make the finals. The fourth and sixth place finishers were not considered to be serious threats for the tournament, compare to favourites such as the North Carolina Courage or the Washington Spirit. However, both of these clubs ignored where the critics and made some noise in Utah.

The NWSL had the privilege of being the first pro sports league to return in America, and the tournament featured many great stories from upsets to underdog stories. This tournament was a great kickstart to sports in the country and should be a catalyst in the expanding coverage in not only women’s soccer but sports in general.

Serena Williams One of Seven High-Profile Investors For New LA Based Women’s Football Club

Tennis superstar Serena Williams will join forces with numerous other influential women in order to fund the creation of a new women’s football club in Los Angeles ahead of the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League.

The ownership group, aiming to expand women’s football to Southern California, consists of Williams, her two year old daughter Alexis Olympia, her husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian as well as actresses and majority investors Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria, Uzo Aduba, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain as well as venture capitalist Kara Nortman.

Completing the stellar lineup are fourteen former USA internationals including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Rachel Buehler, Tisha Venturini-Hoch and two time Olympic champion Abby Wambach. Gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman will serve as the club’s president.

The provisional name for the group is ‘Angel City,’ derived from the city they are aiming to base the club in. The team’s official name and venue has yet to be decided, although this should be confirmed by the enf

There are currently no California based clubs in the NWSL, with the group aiming to build the club from scratch and to expand the scope for women’s football in the region. They will become the 11th franchise to play in the NWSL.

Actress Portman, who got involved with the project after the USA lifted the World Cup in France last summer, told the LA Times:

“It just seems like it was ideal to bring women’s soccer to LA because we have such passionate fans here, such robust youth soccer. It’s just an incredible kind of culture shift if we can bring more attention and light and celebration of these incredible athletes.”

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird also expressed her delight in a statement released today which reads:

“We’ve long sought the right partner in LA considering the NWSL fanbase that already exists in the region and the massive interest in women’s soccer in general.

“Those factors, along with an incredible ownership group make this an ideal situation and we couldn’t be more thrilled to move forward.”

While six of the current NWSL have an affiliation with a men’s professional team, this new franchise, does not as of yet. This could work in their favour however, further enhancing its profile, as an independent club, a unique hub in LA dedicated solely to promoting women’s football in the region.

We have seen first hand in England, how clubs associated and funded by their male counterparts can be left behind and disregarded. Liverpool are the prime example, as while their men’s side will hoist the Premier League trophy tonight, their women’s team were relegated to the Championship and face a struggle to survive as a professional club.

Having such a prestigious group of owners can also be beneficial to the club. The illustrious list of women involved instantly draws some much needed attention to the club, from various sectors, across the globe.

The hype surrounding previous new franchises such as Inter Miami and LA FC was largely generated as result of them having famous owners in David Beckham and Will Ferrell. It is likely that this will be the case for those who are followers of those involved with ‘Angel City.’

Those who are fans of tennis, business, football and showbiz will be looking on, intrigued to see the process of the development of the club as well as the eventual results on the pitch, further boosting the profile and coverage of the NWSL as a whole, which continues to grow rapidly.

The league recorded a 22% increase in attendances last season after the USA’s fifth World Cup win, with the Portland Thorns, the best supported women’s club, averaging 20,000 at home games.

The appetite is clearly there for women’s football in America, particularly in LA, a huge cultural hub in the USA, a particularly attractive location also for a club to be based. Hamm, who already forms part of the ownership group at LA FC, was previously quoted as saying they aimed to form a women’s team.

This view was backed up by an LA FC supporters group 3252, who even flew flags with the NWSL logo stating:

‘Bring the NWSL to LA.’

Whilst this club may be a separate entity to LA FC, as the only female football club created in the area, it is easy to see how many football fans in the region will support this new club, a huge selling point for the group and women’s football as a whole.

Women’s football in America is riding on the wave of the success of the USA National team, and with three new franchises entering into the NWSL for the upcoming season, the Olympics to come next year and the Women’s World Cup in 2023, as Portman nicely summarises the new LA based club is:

“Coming in at an ideal time in 2022.”