Tag 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.

Australia and New Zealand Awarded 2023 Women’s World Cup

Australia and New Zealand will host the next edition of the Women’s World Cup in 2023, FIFA announced yesterday, after a long day of deliberation.

The two countries united to launch the ‘As One’ bid to host the tournament and they saw off a counter bid from Colombia to win the right to stage the tournament, the first which will be held over two continents, as Australia are in the Asia confederation whilst New Zealand are part of the Oceania confederation.

Australia and New Zealand’s ‘As One’ bid won 22 of the 35 votes cast by FIFA Council Members, as Colombia won 13. The South American country was the only rival for hosting the tournament after Japan and Brazil had pulled out of the race.

FIFA’s technical evaluation of Australia and New Zealand’s bid marked at 4.1 out of 5 compared to Colombia’s score of just 2.8.

The 2023 edition of the Women’s World Cup will be the first tournament to feature 32 countries, an increase from the current 24 sides, and in line with the format of the Men’s World Cup.

Australia and New Zealand have put forward the stadiums they plan to use for the tournament, which runs from July-August 2023, with eight grounds in Australia and five in New Zealand touted, in a total of twelve cities.

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle, Launceston to be the Australian hosts whilst Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin will be used for the fixtures scheduled to take place in New Zealand, alongside Auckland. The first game will take place at Eden Park in Auckland, with the final set to take place in Sydney.

President of Football Federation Australia, Chris Nikou, told the BBC the forthcoming competition will be “ground-breaking”.

Nikou added:

“Not only will it be the first ever co-confederation hosted Fifa World Cup and the first ever Fifa Women’s World Cup in the Asia-Pacific region, but we will unlock the huge potential for growth in women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The president of New Zealand Football, Johanna Wood, said:

“We believe we have been given a treasure, and we will look after that treasure.”

The decision to award Australia and New Zealand represents a huge boost to women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region, and a number of players took to social media to express their joy at the announcement.

Australia Captain and Chelsea star Sam Kerr tweeted:

While, New Zealand defender CJ Bott said:

“The tournament going to be the absolute pinnacle and highlight of our careers.”

Both countries will be looking to better their previous showings at the World Cup now that it will be on home soil. The Matildas were eliminated from last year’s tournament on penalties in their last sixteen tie against Norway but will fancy their chances of winning their first World Cup crown with their hime fans behind them.

New Zealand meanwhile, will looking to progress past the group stage, having failed to make it out of their group in any of their previous World Cup appearances.

With football already Australia’s most popular team sport, the exposure, media attention and investment that hosting a World Cup will bring will certainly boost women’s football and it’s profile Down Under.

It will undoubtedly lead to a spike in the number of girls and women who take up the sport at grassroots level in both Australia and New Zealand and help to put football in Asia, a continent often over looked, on the map once again.

Want to here more about women’s football and the World Cup 2023 bid? Then feel free to have a listen to our new podcast episode by clicking on link here: https://soundcloud.com/adam-stephens-425096853/24-7-football-second-podcast

 

The Frauen Bundesliga Story Of The Season So Far

The top-flight of women’s football in Germany made its return on Friday, the first major women’s league to do so after the coronavirus outbreak saw it suspended for two months.

It is nearing its climax, with just four games remaining after another enthralling season, with plenty of twists and turns already taking place and plenty still to play for, here is the story of the season so far, including who are favourites to win it and who are destined for the dreaded drop.

Last season’s champions Wolfsburg Women currently lead the way at the top of the table, boasting an eight-point lead over nearest challengers Bayern Munich Women. They are favourites to retain their title after going unbeaten all season, winning seventeen games and drawing just one.

They began the campaign with a 1-0 win over SC Sand, before demolishing MSV Duisburg 6-1 away from home. They started September in a similar fashion, moving to top spot for the first time with a 3-0 victory at home to Hoffenheim.

Lerch’s side followed that up by securing three points against FFC Turbine Potsdam, before sending out another statement of intent with the 8-1 drubbing of FF USV Jena. She-Wolves then defeated newly promoted side FC Koln 5-0 before coasting to a 3-0 win over FFC Frankfurt.

That victory came at a cost, however, as Germany captain and star striker Alexandra Popp was forced off after suffering ankle ligament damage, which kept her out of the side for six weeks.

They powered on in her absence recording huge wins against SGS Essen (5-1) and SC Freiburg (8-0). The only points they have dropped all season were against second-place Bayern, who held them to a 1-1 draw in front of a season-high 3,245 fans.

They bounced back in style, cruising to a 7-0 away win over 04 Leverkusen and a 4-0 victory against SC Sand, before ending 2019 with three points, defeating MSV Duisburg 4-0. After the mid-season break, Wolfsburg returned in fine form, securing a 5-2 win over second-place TSG Hoffenheim to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.

They brushed aside FFC Turbine Potsdam in their next encounter and put six past bottom side, FF USV Jena, in the following game, their last before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

They marked their return to action with a win last week, beating FC Koln 4-0 and then triumphing 5-1 against FFC Frankfurt to move a step closer to winning the league for the sixth time in their history.

Whilst the title looks to already be decided, the race for the lucrative second Champions League spot is hotting up. Bayern Munich currently occupy second place and have a four-point cushion over nearest challengers and surprise package Hoffenheim after they managed to beat Turbine Potsdam 5-1 at the weekend.

The win, helped to extend the Bavarian outfit’s unbeaten run to twelve games, with their last loss coming in October. With their next two fixtures coming against the two bottom sides Bayern will surely fancy their chances of securing Champions League qualification for the sixth consecutive season.

Their two losses this season would prove to be costly in the context of the title race. They suffered a 1-0 reverse to TSG Hoffenheim and a 3-1 defeat to leaders Wolfsburg which ended all hopes of a title charge against the all conquering Wolfsburg.

Shock challengers TSG Hoffenheim are still in with a shout of reaching the Champions League, although they need to ensure that they win all their remaining fixtures and Bayern drop points to have any chance of clawing back the four point defecit between the sides.

They have only lost four games all season and drawn just one, a remarkable record from a side which has been languishing in mid table since its promotion to the Bundesliga in 2014.

Making up the top half of the table are FFC Frankfurt, SGS Essen and Turbine Potsdam. All three of those sides will be aiming to consolidate a top half finish, given that there are just five points between Frankfurt in fourth place and Frieburg in seventh.

Where things really start to hot up are at the bottom of the table. Newly promoted USV Jena are staring relegation in the face, having failed to win any of their games so far this season, picking up just two points along the way. Life in the top flight has been difficult, with Jena coming on the receiving end of heavy defeats to the likes of Freiburg, Wolfsburg and Turbine Potsdam.

Who will be joining Jena in the 2 Frauen Bundesliga is set to go down to the wire. FC Köln currently sit in the relegation zone, yet they are just two points off MSV Duisburg and Bayer Leverkusen, who are both hovering narrowly over the drop, with a game in hand.

To make matters more interesting, their game in hand is against bottom side Jena on Wednesday, and if they win that they will overtake both Duisburg and Leverkusen in the race for survival.

Leverkusen then entertain Köln in the penultimate matchday and definitely have the toughest run in of those jostling to stay up, facing champions-elect Wolfsburg in their final game of the season. It seems that they could also be destined for the drop.

It is set to be a fascinating end to a great season so far, especially now that BBC ALBA have committed to broadcast some of the run in.

WSL Update: Vivianne Miedema keeps Arsenal in the title race

Defending champions Arsenal secured a vital 3-2 win at Liverpool in the latest round of the Women Super League. 

 The impressive Rinsola Babajide had given Liverpool a surprise lead against Joe Montemurro’s side, breaking clear to slide the ball past Pauline Peyraud-Magnin in the Arsenal goal.

England international, Jordan Nobbs then sparked a dramatic three-minute turn around for the Gunners. She provided the cross for Vivianne Miedema to steer home.  Nobbs then scored herself with a powerful header into the top corner.

Rachel Furness however was able to draw the reds level before half time after capitalising on a defensive error from Arsenal full back Lisa Evans.

In the second half, just when it looked like the defending champions were going to drop crucial points, their star striker Miedema again popped up with a critical header to secure the Gunners first win in three WSL games.

Arsenal’s WSL rivals Chelsea and Manchester City both secured home victories against relegation threatened Birmingham City and Bristol City respectively.

Beth England managed to keep up her impressive WSL scoring record for the Blues by grabbing the crucial second and her 13thof the campaign, to help secure a 2-0 victory over the Midlands Club.

In Alan Mahon’s first game in charge of Manchester City meanwhile, Gemma Bonner’s second minute goal was enough to earn the Citizens a 1-0 victory over Bristol City.

A 2-0 victory for Reading over East London side West Ham United was enough to move them up to fourth above Casey Stoney’s Manchester United team, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion.

Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Everton in a fiery encounter at their Hive Stadium.

Goals from the Toffees top scorer, Chloe Kelly and Inessa Kaagman had put the Merseyside club in control, however Spurs’ substitute Angela Addison and a long-range free kick from Emma Mitchell earned the North London side a share of the spoils.

February 23rdMatch Previews

Everton vs Manchester United (12:30pm Kick-off)

There is just one point and one place separating these two sides and is a crucial match in the race for finishing fourth.

Casey Stoney’s team have won just once on the road in their past five visits and that was against relegation threatened Birmingham City.

Everton’s home form meanwhile has been pretty good in recent weeks and they have only lost to Manchester City and Arsenal in their last five home games.

Manchester United however won both the previous meetings between the sides including a 3-0 victory at Everton last November in the Continental Tyres Cup.

Prediction Everton 2-0 win

We fancy the Toffees to secure their first win over Manchester United this time around with recently called up England striker, Chloe Kelly proving the difference. 

Birmingham City vs Bristol City (2pm)

This is certainly a relegation six pointer between these two midlands’ clubs.

Bristol City are currently bottom of the Super League but could move up to 10thwith a win over rivals Birmingham City.

Both sides come into this one not in the best of form and have only managed wins in cup games in recent weeks.

The Blues do boast a strong record against the Robins having won five of their previous six encounters including a 2-0 win in the league’s reverse fixture last December.

Prediction: Birmingham City 1-0 win

We believe that Birmingham City will secure the crucial three points in tense encounter. 

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Tottenham Hotspur (2pm)

Hope Powell’s Brighton side come into this one in good form having just lost one of their last five matches.  They have also only lost just once at home in 2020, against defending champions Arsenal.

Spurs meanwhile have been relatively inconsistent in their first season in the WSL so far, however they do find themselves well clear of relegation at this point.

The North London side won the only encounter between the sides back in December in a closely fought 1-0 game at The Hive Stadium.

Prediction: Brighton 2-1 win

We are going for another home win in this one, the Seagulls have been strong at home in recent weeks and we are anticipating them to put on another strong showing in front of their own fans.  

Manchester City vs Chelsea (2pm)

This is arguably the title decider and featured game of the weekend.

Both of these sides are in terrific form, Chelsea are still unbeaten throughout this campaign yet they currently sit second, one point behind their latest opponents Manchester City.

Emma Hayes’ side do however crucially have a game in hand over the Citizens and the home team also come into this one with a newly appointed manager in Alan Mahon, who is taking charge of just his second match.

The West London club won the only meeting of the season so far in 2-1 win at Kings Meadow.

Presently that remains to date  Chelsea’s only victory over Manchester City.

Prediction 1-1 draw

We do not think there is much to split these two teams and we believe this will be a score draw.

West Ham United vs Liverpool (3pm)

West Ham United have been struggling in recent weeks with just one win in their past five games.  That came against Brighton in mid-January.

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool however have been putting in some good performances recently without getting results, they certainly challenged defending champions Arsenal last time out.

Liverpool’s record against the Hammers is also a good one; they have won two of their three encounters and drew 1-1 against them earlier this season.

Prediction Liverpool 3-1 win

The Merseyside club have been impressive in recent weeks and with the likes of Rinsola Babajide and Rachel Furness in the side we think that they will fire Liverpool to a crucial three points.