Category Archives: WSL

World Cup Winner Rose Lavelle Links Up With Man City Ahead of 2020-21 WSL Season

Man City have made another statement of intent in the transfer market with their latest summer signing, USA midfielder Rose Lavelle.

Lavelle, was an integral member of the USA squad as they won the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup last year, scooping the prestigious Bronze Ball for her performances during the tournament.

She scored three goals in six games, including one in the final as the USA defeated the Netherlands to clinch their fifth world title.

The 25 year old, also finished sixth at The Best FIFA awards last year and was named in the 2019 FIFA FIFPRO World XI.

An Ohio native, Lavelle played college soccer in America at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for the Wisconsin Badgers. She made 19 appearances, netting six and assisting seven in her first year as her side won the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament.

Lavelle was awarded the Big Ten midfielder of the year in both 2015 and 2016 after impressing in the centre of the park. She got her break in the professional game in 2017, as she was selected as the number one pick at the 2017 NWSL College Draft by the Boston Breakers.

At the Breakers Lavelle showed early promise, netting twice in her first eight games and winning April’s Player of the Month award. A hamstring injury would derail her campaign, however, with Lavelle finishing the season with just ten appearances after missing two months.

After the Breakers folded Lavelle was again selected first overall in another draft, this time linking up with Washington Spirit. International duty has restricted her game time in a Spirit shirt but despite playing just six games last year Lavelle was included in the NWSL Best XI.

She recently took part in the NWSL Challenge Cup, organised as a replacement for the NWSL as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. She scored one goal in four games as Washington lost out to Sky Blue FC on penalties in the first knockout round.

On the international stage is where Lavelle has really shown her quality. She won the Golden Ball at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U20 Championship before captaining the side at the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, scoring once and creating two more goals.

She was handed her debut for the senior side against England in the SheBelieves Cup in March 2017 and has since gone on to amass a near half century of caps.

She has also got her hands on some silverware, in the form of the 2018 Tournament of Nations, 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, the aforementioned 2019 World Cup and the 2020 SheBelieves Cup earlier this year.

She was traded to OL Reign in the middle of August, with an agreement that she could seek a move abroad, and she chose Manchester as her new destination, linking up with fellow USA import Sam Mewis, who joined the Citizens last week.

Lavelle cited the uncertainty surrounding the league return in America and the allure of playing in the Champions League ahead of the rescheduled Olympics next year as determining factors in choosing WSL runners up, City.

Lavelle told the Guardian:

“I knew I had to stay in the US because the Olympics were coming along. When that didn’t happen and there was no football of any kind happening for months I had to reconsider.

“I am excited at the possibility of playing in the Champions League, I grew up watching that without ever thinking I might get the chance to play in it.”

She credits new City boss Gareth Taylor for convincing her to make the move to England, telling City’s official website:

“After talking with Gareth about the team and how he saw me fitting in, it seemed like a great environment that would really push and develop me as a player.”

With Keira Walsh and USA compatriot Sam Mewis likely to occupy the two holding midfield roles if Taylor opts to play with a three in midfield, Lavelle will likely be pushed on into a more advanced role in the centre of the field, allowing her to roam forward and create chances to devastating effect.

The only cause for concern for City will be ensuring that she stays fit, as she has often struggled with little niggles and injuries which have halted her progress on the club front.

Head coach Taylor was delighted to secure Lavelle’s services as his third signing of the window, after also adding Chloe Kelly and Sam Mewis to City’s ranks as they look to wrestle the WSL crown off Chelsea.

Speaking to Man City’s official website Taylor said:

“We’re thrilled to have secured Rose’s services – with her impressive back catalogue, she is an incredibly exciting player and one we’re all looking forward to working with.”

The Manchester City coach continued:

“I am extremely excited to see her make her mark on the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this season in what will hopefully be a successful campaign for Manchester City Women.”

Having 27 year old Mewis, who Lavelle is very close to, also arriving for a season in the WSL alongside her will surely help Lavelle settle in, and it appears that these two signings are just the tip of the iceberg for USA internationals moving abroad for game time ahead of the upcoming Olympics.

Tobin Heath and Christen Press are also rumoured to be heading to Manchester, with talks ongoing between their representatives and Manchester United.

This will help propel the WSL to new heights with the influx of talented players from abroad and continued investment and coverage of the game it is set to be one of the most competitive seasons the WSL has ever seen.

Women’s Champions League – Who are the Last Eight?

The Women’s elite European competition is set to resume this week and just like the men’s tournament, it will be an eight-team knockout format with one-off ties.

The tournament will run from the 21-30thAugust with the games due to be played out in Spain at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao and the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian.

So, with that in mind, who are the remaining sides left in the competition?

Glasgow City

Beginning with Scottish side, Glasgow City, who have been the dominant side in Scotland for the best part of a decade.  They are appearing in the Quarter Finals for just the second time in their history.  Their only previous Quarter Final was against French side Paris Saint Germain back in 2015, which resulted in a 7-0 on aggregate loss.

Scott Booth, who has been in charge since 2015, currently coaches them. The Scottish side beat Brondby 3-1 on penalties in the previous round of 16 to get to this stage, following a 2-2 on aggregate scoreline. It is, however, difficult to see them progressing much further as they face a formidable German outfit in the form of VfL Wolfsburg.

VfL Wolfsburg

The German Champions, VfL Wolfsburg will be out to add the Champions League title to an already impressive 2019/20 campaign. They have previously won the Champions League in 2013 and 2014.  This made them the first German team to successful defend the European crown.

They comfortably saw off Dutch side FC Twente 7-0 on aggregate in the previous round and are rightly considered one of the tournament favourites alongside defending champions Lyon to lift the trophy in San Sebastian.

Atletico Madrid

Spanish side, Atletico Madrid are appearing in the Quarter Finals for the very first time.  In their four previous appearances they have never managed to get further than the last 16 where they have lost to Lyon in 2015-16 and Wolfsburg in 2018-19. They impressively saw off WSL runners-up Manchester City in the previous round.

The Madrid based side have been pretty inconsistent this season even though they managed to finish second in the Primera Iberdrola behind their Quarter Final opponents Barcelona.  Their preparation has also been disrupted after five of their players tested positive for COVID-19 last week leading to the cancellation of their training sessions.  Will subsequently begin their all-Spanish tie as underdogs.

Barcelona

The second of the two Spanish sides in the last eight, Barcelona were in the process of having their most successful season ever. The Catalan club had won 19 of their 21 league matches as well as the Supercopa de Espana.  They subsequently claimed the Primera Iberdrola by a nine-point margin and their first since 2015.

Lluis Cortes’s side saw off Belarus’s FC Minsk in the Last 16 and will start the Quarter Final with domestic rivals Atletico as clear favourites.

Arsenal

The Gunners are set to take part in their first WCL Quarter-Final in six years.  The North London club will need to win the competition to qualify for next season’s Champions League as they finished in third in the Women Super League.

Joe Montemurro’s side will be hoping the Football Writers Footballer of The Year, Vivianne Miedema can fire his team to European glory.  Their tie with Paris Saint Germain, however, is one that could certainly go either way.

Paris Saint Germain

French side Paris Saint Germain have reached the final of this competition twice before, their last of these was back in 2015 where they lost to FFC Frankfurt. Head Coach Olivier Echouafni has been in charge since 2018.

Echouafni’s team defeated Breidablik in the Last 16 and their tie with Arsenal is arguably the hardest to predict.

Olympique Lyon

Olympique Lyon has won the Division 1 Feminine an impressive 14 times in a row since the side was formed back in 2004. They have also won the Champions League a record six-times and are rightfully considered favourites to go all the way again.

Managed by Jean-Luc Vasseur their squad includes the likes of England international fullback Lucy Bronze, winger Nikita Parris and BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year for 2019, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich are coached by Jens Scheuer, who has had the unenviable task of playing catch up with VfL Wolfsburg, who have won the Frauen Bundesliga crown for the past four years.

Last season’s Semi Finalists, however, were confidently able to dispatch BIIK- Kazygurt in the last round. The German side have a tough ask to progress any further as they face last season’s winners, Olympique Lyon next.

Tournament Schedule

Friday 21stAugust

Glasgow City vs Wolfsburg (5pm kick-off Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian)

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona (5pm kick-off San Mames Stadium, Bilbao – BT Sport 3 HD

Saturday 22ndAugust

Arsenal vs Paris Saint Germain (7pm kick-off Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian) – BT Sport 1 HD

 Lyon vs Bayern Munich (7pm kick-off San Mames Stadium, Bilbao) – BT Sport 2 HD

 Tuesday 25thAugust

Glasgow City/Wolfsburg vs Atletico/Barcelona (7pm Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian) – BT Sport 1 HD

 Wednesday 26thAugust

Arsenal/PSG vs Lyon/Bayern (7pm San Mames Stadium, Bilbao) – BT Sport 1 HD

Sunday 30thAugust

Final (7pm Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian) – BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate

How to watch?

All the matches will be available to watch on BT Sport.

Who do you fancy to go all the way to lift the trophy in San Sebastian on Sunday 30th August?

Carla Ward appointed Head Coach of WSL side Birmingham City

Carla Ward has been named Head Coach of Women’s Super League team Birmingham City.

The Midlands based club have been without a Head Coach since Marta Tejedor left in March, leaving the blues second from bottom in the WSL.

Ward has joined the club on a two-year deal and has previously managed at Championship side, Sheffield United. She had successfully guided the Blades to their best ever season as they were sitting in second before the campaign was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just six points behind eventual Champions Aston Villa.

Following the conclusion of the season, however, Ward decided that she needed a fresh challenge having been with Sheffield United since 2017, joining the Blades first as an Assistant Manager before taking the Head Coach role the following year.

The new Blues Head Coach said:

“This is a massive opportunity, Blues are a massive Club with a great history

“I’m a big believer if we’ve got the players smiling and confident and buying into what you’ve got to do then you have got half a chance.”

During her playing career Ward had spells with Bristol Rovers, Sheffield FC, Lincoln City, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Bristol City as well as a stint with Spanish side SPA Alicante.

The 36-year old will be tasked with turning around a club who only managed just two wins and seven points from their 13 games last season, subsequently narrowly avoiding relegation to the second tier.

The Blues also revealed that Charlie Baxter, who was acting as interim manager since March, has been appointed Assistant Head Coach. While Goalkeeping Coach, Tony Elliott has also re-joined the backroom staff from Bristol City.

Ward’s first WSL game in charge is set to be at Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion when the season gets underway on September 6. 

England Lionesses: Sarina Wiegman to succeed Phil Neville in September 2021

Netherlands Woman’s manager Sarina Wiegman is to take over from Phill Neville as England’s Head Coach from September 2021. 

 The former Dutch midfielder, whose team won The European Championships in 2017, is set to sign a four-year deal, while Neville will leave his Head Coach role next summer. 

Following her confirmed appointment, Wiegman said:

“England is the cradle of football and I’m very much looking forward to contributing my experience and expertise to this ambitious team.”

The first tournament that Wigeman will be in charge of the Lionesses is the Women’s Euro 2021 on home soil, which has subsequently been pushed back until July 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

England-born ex USA Manager Jill Ellis was also said to be in the running for the job whose USA Team has won the past two World Cups.

Last Month The FA reviled that they had 142 Applications for the Job with Head of Woman’s Football Baroness Sue Campbell saying:

“The players deserve the best and I will bring them the best if I can”

Wiegman has a contract with the Dutch FA till the end of 2021.

Neville’s contract, however, runs out at the end of 2021. He could still be in charge though, of Team GB should Wiegman chose to stay with the Dutch during that Tournament.

The Games in Japan are due to take place from July 29th till 8th August.

Having reached the Semi-Finals of their last three Major Tournament’s, the FA wanted to appoint someone who can take the team that one step further and ultimately lead them to World Cup glory. 

Wiegman lead her side to glory as hosts of Euro 2017 where they beat The Lionesses, managed by Mark Sampson 3-0 in the last four.

She also guided the Netherlands to there first World Cup final two years later, even though they lost to Ellis’ USA in the Final

Wiegman is well-acquainted with the English game as many of her star players play in the the Woman’s Super League including: forward Vivianne Miedema and midfielder Danielle Van Da Donk, Both of Arsenal and Manchester United’s Jackie Groenen.

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.