Melbourne City, Western Sydney Wanderers, Canberra United and Brisbane Roar have all announced significant additions to their W-League squads this week. Impetus hears from all of the players and head coaches involved as the big kick-off gets ever closer.
Three additions by Melbourne City:
This week, the Sky Blues have announced three major players for their 2021/22 squad list with the arrival of Kaitlyn Torpey from Brisbane Roar as well as the news that Tori Tumeth and Naomi Chinnama have re-signed at the club after being key players last time round.
A former Young Matilda, Torpey made 43 appearances for Brisbane Roar since making her W-League debut as a 16-year-old in 2016.
The hard-working fullback will add attacking threat to Rado Vidosic’s squad this season, as she joins the likes of Emma Checker, Rebekah Stott, Tori Tumeth, and Chelsea Blissett in what is shaping up to be a strong defensive unit.
Having mainly been deployed as a right-back throughout her W-League career, Torpey’s attacking instincts from defence will see her fit in well at City.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic was delighted to obtain Torpey’s signing: “Kaitlyn is a player that will fit well into our style of play and really help us improve this season.
“We know she’ll be working hard to make her mark on the team, and she’ll also bring plenty of W-League experience, despite still being just 21-years-old. We look forward to her joining us this pre-season and seeing her develop into the player we know she can become.”
Kaitlyn Torpey spoke of her excitement to be joining the club: “City’s reputation and history is amazing and I’m so excited to get over to Melbourne and be a part of it.
“It’s a big change but I’m really looking forward to getting to work and I think it will be a lot of fun. I’m not going to stop running, I’m not going to stop working and I just want to be that player who brings plenty of energy to the group.”
Melbourne City FC also announced the re-signing of 17-year-old defender Naomi Chinnama for the next two seasons.
Starting as a train-on player last pre-season, Chinnama impressed the coaching staff to earn a contract on the eve of the season.
Despite being just 16 at the time, she continued to develop and impress, so much so that she was handed her W-League debut in February’s Grand Final re-match against Sydney FC.
After impressing Head Coach Rado Vidosic in her 20-minute cameo off the bench, Chinnama would then start every fixture for the remainder of the season.
Having now gained valuable W-League experience at such a young age, expect Chinnama to continue to develop and improve over the next two years at City.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic said: “Naomi really impressed us in her first W-League season so it’s great to have her back for the next two years.
“Despite her age, she looked comfortable at the level and gained some invaluable experience. She still has so much room to grow and improve, so we are really excited to keep working with her and to watch her continue to develop.”
Naomi Chinnama spoke of her appreciation for the opportunities that City have given her: “I went into the season with no expectations and hoped that by working harder each day I might eventually get a bit of game time. I’m still in a bit of shock as to how everything turned out. I appreciate Rado and the Club for believing in me and giving me the opportunity.
“The decision could not have been easier. Melbourne City is a top Club and the support from management, Rado and the coaching/technical teams has been phenomenal.”
The final addition to the Sky Blues squad was 20-year-old defender Tori Tumeth who accepted a new two year deal.
Tumeth made the move from New South Wales in 2020, appearing in every fixture of her inaugural season at Australia’s top level.
After making her W-League debut in Round One against Brisbane Roar, Tumeth went on to start in all but one game.
Her versatility as a player was key to her success. Head Coach Rado Vidosic initially deployed Tumeth at the heart of the City defence before playing her as an attacking wing-back.
The former Junior Matildas captain was one of the bright spots for City in season 2020/21 and will continue to develop her craft over the next two seasons in Melbourne.
Head Coach Rado Vidosic spoke of how easy a decision it was to offer Tumeth a new deal: “Tori was one of our shining lights last season so it’s great to have her returning to Melbourne for the next couple of years.
“She showed a great willingness to learn in her first W-League season and as a result, continually improved her game and was an important part of our team. Tori’s a versatile player and we look forward to watching her continue to develop over the next two seasons.”
Tori Tumeth spoke of her development at the club last season: “I really enjoyed my first season of W-League with City and I was extremely grateful to be given the chance. I am excited to get back to the Club and continue working and building for the next two years.
“I definitely feel like I grew a lot last year under Rado and the rest of the coaching staff, and I really started to understand and implement the City style of play. When Rado introduced me to wing-back, I was able to get wider and higher up the pitch and thoroughly enjoyed learning the new position. I think being versatile is extremely important and ultimately, I want to offer as much to the team as I possibly can.”
Wanderers Re-Sign Three Key Players:
Western Sydney Wanderers FC announced the re-signing of defender Caitlin Cooper, and forward Erica Halloway plus the return of goalkeeper Sham Khamis for the upcoming W-League season.
A Wanderers legend in her own right, Cooper is set to play in her eighth season in the Red & Black in 2021/22.
The veteran defender has been part of the W-League competition since its inception and continues to bring experience and leadership qualities to the club.
Cooper featured in every Wanderers match last season, making 34 clearances, eight blocks, and 21 interceptions.
Such impressive performances saw her called up to the Matildas for a national team camp prior to the Olympics this year as well as being crowned the Wanderers Medal winner for Player of the Year and Members’ Player of the Year.
Western Sydney Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas was proud of Cooper re-signing with the club.
“Caitlin sets an example beyond what it means to be a footballer at our club,” said Tsatsimas. We have seen through her football journey her determination and work ethic to give her all for the Red & Black and wider Western Sydney community both on and off the field.
“We welcome back Caitlin for another season which we hope to see more special moments and records broken.”
Head coach Catherine Cannuli said there was a strong synergy between Cooper and the Wanderers values.
“Caitlin and the Wanderers share very similar values which is why she is a wonderful example of who we want our Wanderers players to be and represent,” said Cannuli.
“Caitlin has played an instrumental role in not only pushing the team in striving to be at their best in every training session and every match, but also in helping to create a positive culture and learning environment at the club.”
Cooper said she was “Very happy to be re-signing with the club for what we expect to be a big season for us in the W-League,” said Cooper.
“We have high hopes and lots of goals that we want to achieve together, and I believe that we will be able to go all the way this season.
“Having been at the Wanderers now for the majority of my football career, I have seen first-hand the growth of women’s football both on-and-off the pitch and I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved together so far.
“I’m counting down the days now until we return to the Wanderers Centre of Football next month to start training with the team to push for a massive season ahead.”
A one-club player and Wanderers legend, Erica Halloway will play in her seventh season with the club having signed back in 2015.
Six years later and Halloway has played in close to 60 matches in the Red & Black and scored seven goals.
The forward returned to competitive football last season after recovering from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury during the 2019/20 season and went on to make four appearances.
Western Sydney Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas was delighted with Halloway’s re-signing.
“Erica’s belief and loyalty to the club over the last six years cannot be understated,” said Tsatsimas.
“It was a very hard-road back to the W-League for Erica following her injury, but we were so proud to see her back on the pitch last season. We are even more proud to see her re-sign and don the Red & Black hoops for another season. Erica has been a fantastic role model for our club for a number of the years, both on the pitch and the community where she has been a leader in that space.”
Head coach Catherine Cannuli welcomed back Erica for another season. “Erica’s belief, loyalty and passion for the club has been incredible,” she said.
“She is a true leader, calm and confident in her ability to help the team on the pitch and help shape the next generation of Wanderers and we are very proud to have her back for another season with the club.”
Erica Halloway spoke about what an honour it was to continue her football journey at the club.
“The Wanderers are a family to me and it means the world to me to be able to represent the Red & Black,” said Halloway.
“I have always said I will only ever play for one club so I’m delighted to re-sign for my seventh season. We’re expecting a big season at the club under Catherine Cannuli and I can’t wait to get to work with the team to achieve the goals we have set out for ourselves.”
Sham Khamis previously played for the club back in 2014 and featured in three matches before seasons at Sydney FC, Canberra United and more recently, Melbourne Victory.
The experienced goalkeeper has been a regular in the domestic football scene and has played 50 games between the sticks in the national competition.
Head coach Catherine Cannuli spoke of her pride in the Western Sydney local’s return to the club. “It’s fantastic to welcome Sham back to the club as she understands what it means to represent the region with pride and passion.
“Sham brings with her an abundance of experience and a winning mentality that we look forward to having in the team this season.”
Khamis said she was delighted to once again represent the region where she grew up. “I’ve grown up in Western Sydney, it is my home and it’s only fitting that I finally return and put the Red & Black on,
“I know I have so much left to give, especially to a club that continues to grow and establish themselves in the league. I can’t wait for this season to get started because I know my values and passion aligns with what the Wanderers stand for.
“I had last season off , so for me personally it’s about getting back into playing at this level and enjoying the environment and intensity at which we train and play at.
“For the club, we want to make Finals. We’ve made the Finals once in our history, so this year we want to make sure we start strong and make the Top Four. I believe we have the squad to do so.”
Big Signing For Canberra United:
Canberra United announced a significant addition to their squad with the news that striker Allira Toby will be joining the lime green machine for upcoming W-League season.
The 27-year-old joins Canberra from Sydney FC, where she made 14 appearances in 2020/21, helping the side reach the W-League Grand Final.
In 2016, the Queenslander made her W-League debut with Adelaide United before heading to Brisbane Roar where she was awarded the club’s Golden Boot in their 2017/18 Premiership winning campaign and again the next season.
Toby said signing with Canberra is an exciting new journey for her as a player. “I’m happy to be in green this season and I can’t wait to be a part of everything that the team, club and fans represent,” Toby said.
“As a team, I hope we have a consistent season and a spot in the finals. Individually, honestly, I just want to be playing well, scoring goals and helping the team in whatever capacity I can.”
“Canberra just seems like the right fit. It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to grow and learn, both on and off the field. I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and get stuck in for the upcoming season.”
Canberra United Head Coach Vicki Linton said she’s looking forward to Allira coming to the national capital: “I am really pleased that Allira will be joining Canberra for the upcoming season,” she said.
“She brings W-League experience and is a renowned goal-scorer. I am excited to get her into the training environment and see how she combines within our team.”
Toby will join the team for preseason next month.
Brisbane Roar Add Another Queensland NPLW Star:
Brisbane Roar have signed Japanese midfielder Rie Kitano.
The NPL Queensland star makes the step up after consistently impressing in the state’s top women’s competition, scoring 31 goals in less than three full seasons.
“Roar is the squad that everyone wants to be a part of so I’m really happy to be involved,” Kitano said.
“I wasn’t thinking about it when I came to Australia, but after a year here I started to look for an opportunity to play in the W-League. “I just can’t wait to get started!”
Kitano played for Okayama Yunogo Belle in Japan’s Nadeshiko League before relocating to Australia in early 2019 to link up with Gold Coast United.
The 29-year-old, who moved on to Souths United this year, got to face her new W-League side as part of the NPL All-Stars team that took on the Roar in an exhibition match last December.
“From my perspective, Rie has been a standout performer in the NPL Women’s competition across the past few seasons,” said Head Coach Garrath McPherson.
“She is a creative midfielder who is exciting to watch from the sideline. She has assisted and scored some amazing goals already this year and I encourage people to get along and watch her in action across the last five rounds. I have also been really impressed with Rie’s work rate and effort in defending moments this season.
“She is a competitor who further strengthens our winning mentality in the midfield.
Like Shea Connors and Mariel Hecher, Rie is another example for players in our NPL Women’s competition of the pathway that exists into the W-League.”