Above: Chelsie Dawber was unveiled earlier today by Adelaide United – a huge signing for the South Australian club. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.
It was a busy day of A-League Women signings as some big names were unveiled as being on the roster for the 2022/23 season, which gets underway in two and a half weeks time.
Adelaide United announced that forward Chelsie Dawber has returned to the club on loan from Chicago Red Stars.
Having departed United in April for the National Women’s Soccer League outfit, signing a two-year deal in the States, Dawber re-joins her hometown club off the back of her first experience overseas.
Prior to departing South Australia, Dawber had her best season for the Club, scoring 10 goals in 15 matches, which brought her overall tally for Adelaide to 17 goals in 42 games.
Speaking about returning to Adelaide United, Dawber said: “I’m very happy to be coming home and playing for the Reds again.
“Last season we were able to achieve our maiden finals appearance and we’re in a very good position to progress even further this season. The squad Adrian (Stenta) and the club have assembled is one of the strongest I’ve seen and I’m excited to be part of it this season.”
Adelaide United Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “It’s a fantastic acquisition for the club to be bringing Chelsie back to Adelaide for the 2022/23 season.
“The impact Chelsie had on our team, alongside our other forwards, was crucial in securing our first finals appearance and we’re expecting much more of the same from her and our team this year.
“The foundations we’ve laid right across the playing group are as strong as they’ve ever been and we have high hopes for the level of success we’ll enjoy throughout this season.”
New Zealand international Emma Rolston has signed for Wellington Phoenix after almost a decade away from home.
The Football Ferns forward has signed on for the 2022-23 A-League Women season, completing the women’s professional squad.
Rolston, 25, left the capital to prepare for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup before pursuing a career abroad.
She made her professional bow for Sydney FC in the old W-League before heading to Europe where the 12-cap Fern played in Germany and most recently Norway.
“I haven’t lived in Wellington for nine years so playing for the Phoenix women’s team is pretty cool,” Rolston said.
“It’s pretty amazing to have a professional football club in New Zealand. It’s been a long time coming and it’s great to finally have that here to give opportunities for girls coming through.”
Rolston is the third established New Zealand international to join the Phoenix this season, following the signings of Betsy Hassett and Paige Satchell, while returning Nix players Lily Alfeld, Kate Taylor, Mackenzie Barry, and Alyssa Whinham have all been part of national team squads this year.
“It’s really good to have quite a few Ferns involved in the Wellington Phoenix and lift the standard a little bit more. We’ve all got high standards and we’ll push the girls to win games, move up higher on the table and potentially win [the league].
“It’ll be cool to have home games as well. I think that’s a really big driving factor to help rally support for the girls and get in behind the team.”
The Tokyo Olympian has had more than her fair share of injury setbacks since being forced to take a year out of football after the U-20 World Cup in Canada but hopes they’re “behind me now”.
“It all stems from my back. I wasn’t able to run, walk, go to the gym or do anything and there wasn’t a load of support around me. When I came back that’s when I started to get injuries.
“I think my back is probably going to be a problem for as long as I play football, because it’s nerve damage down my leg.
“I think that’s something we have to learn to manage…but I’m not going to give up football, especially with the World Cup and Olympics coming up.”
Emma Rolston believes Wellington is the best place for her, with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon.
“I’m getting into an environment where I’m surrounded by friends and family, and my boyfriend’s moving down so I have good support around me.
“To be playing in my hometown is incredible and to be pushing for World Cup selection is a great spot for me to be.”
Phoenix head coach Natalie Lawrence was able to offer Rolston a contract after moving young fullback Zoe McMeeken into their fifth and final Australian quota spot. The club recently learned McMeeken, a Junior Football Fern, was born in Melbourne.
“Having spoken to Rollo and Jitka (Klimková) we felt it was a really good opportunity for her and the team,” Lawrence said.
“She’s a player we were missing. She can score goals, she’s technical, and can create a lot. She can play anywhere across the front line and even as an attacking midfielder.
“When you’re filling those last spots, if you can get players that play a number of positions then you’re winning.
“Having somebody like Rollo come in with her experience and her ability on the ball was an opportunity we didn’t really want to miss.”
Newcastle Jets have added Chicago Red Stars attacker Sarah Griffith for the upcoming A-League Women season.
Griffith joins the Newcastle Jets from the National Women’s Soccer League side and can play as a winger, attacking midfielder, or striker.
Newcastle Jets head coach Ash Wilson is pleased to have secured Griffith and is excited about what the American can bring to the Jets.
“I’m excited for Sarah to be finally joining our squad. She is coming to us from Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL where she played in her rookie season after a successful College campaign with Purdue University. Her attitude, work ethic, and quality with the ball were key aspects we looked at when deciding she was someone we really wanted to bring into our environment.
“Sarah is a player who is hard-working, versatile, and has a capacity to score goals. She has great drive and motivation and I know she is going to bring a lot to the team both on and off the pitch with her mentality, resilience, and character and I am looking forward to working with her.”
Griffith is looking forward to the season ahead with the Jets, saying: “I am super excited and honoured to be a Newcastle Jet for this upcoming season. Having met the girls and staff already, I can tell how unified and welcoming this group is. I am excited to get to work and give everything I have for this club.”