Irish Women’s National League Round-Up

Abi Ticehurst rounds up all of the action as the FAI Women’s National League returned from its early summer break. Pictured above – DLR WavesCarla McManus, sponsored by Impetus, slots home a penalty against Wexford Youths. Photo supplied by Peter Minogue Photography.

In the Spotlight: Wexford open up the gap in the race for top three

A game with plenty of action from both sides, Wexford Youths looked to settle much quicker than DLR Waves as they dominated the first fifteen, however it was evident that both teams were getting back into the rhythm of play after the pause at the end of the first part of the campaign.

A soaring set piece looked initially like it was on course to go over, but it dipped just in the right fashion for Lynn Marie Grant and she headed home to put Youths 1-0 up. Half time and Waves looked considerably more comfortable as the second forty-five kicked off. Niamh Barnes really showed her strength against a pacey Blessing Kingsley to deny her multiple chances down the right wing.

An opportunity then fell for Aoife Brophy as she fizzed one into the box, for Impetus’ very own Carla McManus just unable to connect to put DLR on the score sheet. The final twenty minutes proved fairly intense with no more than two to three passes for either side before possession switched.

However, another corner was swung in and Orlaith Conlon was on the end of it to make it 2-0 to Youths. A handball in the box by Nicola Sinnott meant Carla McManus was able to notch another on her record for DLR (pictured) to make it six in eight games and deny Wexford the clean sheet, as she coolly slotted one home from the spot after.

Just moments later, Youths counter-attack was explosive and Ellen Molloy’s shot took an unfortunate deflection off Niamh Barnes to make it three for Wexford. A final DLR attempt as McManus attempted to hook a goal in but was unable to get any real power on it as the ball swung in too high.

Above: Freya de Mange on her debut for Wexford Youths against DLR Waves on Saturday. Photo: @YouthsWomen

Aoibheann Clancy was the standout player, for me, during the game, she was able to utilise all the difficult gaps to push the offense forward for Wexford whilst putting in important and well timed tackles, as well as making accurate and effortless turns on the ball. Honourable mentions for both keepers, Ciamh Dollard and Eve Badana, as they did sterling jobs to shot-stop chances from both sides as the strikers and Jess Gleeson who looked dangerous in the air at every opportunity.

FT Wexford Youths 3-1 DLR Waves

Mid-table match up ends in draw

Galway continue a positive re-start under new boss Stephen Lally with a draw against Bohemians. Lally was appointed just over a month ago. A former Galway United player, he replaced Billy Cleary who stepped down at the end of May. A Sinead Donovan goal put Galway 1-0 up to maintain the lead for much of the game. However an 86th minute free-kick from midfielder Chloe Darby was to spoil the fun and secure a point for Bohemians. The pair sit sixth and fifth in the table respectively.

FT Bohemians 1-1 Galway

Sensational Murray strike puts Shels joint top

Above: Noelle Murray – Shelbourne’s match winner. Photo: Shelbourne FC.

In classic Noelle Murray fashion, a long range attempt from the striker put Shelbourne 1-0 up. Murray took a chance from 30 yards out and was able to lob Abby McCarthy and all in front of a home crowd for the first time this season. A stealthy performance by Becky Cassin and Éabha O’Mahony in midfield for Cork, but not enough to pick up points to take them off the bottom spot in the table. The result hots things up at the top, as the Shels go level on points with league leaders Peamount United.

FT Shelbourne 1-0 Cork City

Cronin does the double in a draw

A busy, feisty game between Treaty United and Athlone Town saw them both take a point at Jackman Park with Aoife Cronin hitting the back of the net twice for Treaty, which put the forward joint top scorer with fellow namesake Aoife Horgan, both with 4 each. Katelyn Keogh nabbed Athlone’s first just before the break with Melissa O’Kane getting in on the act. Athlone held on for twenty minutes but Cronin secured the brace to make it 2-2 in the 82nd minute. Athlone remain in 8th whilst Treaty are in lucky 7th.

FT Treaty United 2-2 Athlone Town

PosTeamPldPtsGD +/-GFW
1Peamount United925+22268
3Wexford Youths1021+21296
4DLR Waves916+4135
7Treaty United97-24122
8Athlone Town95-15111
9Cork City103-12120

Next Fixtures:

Saturday 3rd July

Shelbourne v Peamount United (14:00)

Cork City v Bohemians (14:00)

Galway v DLR Waves (16:00)

Wexford Youths v Treaty United (18:30)

Abi Ticehurst will be rounding-up all the action from the FAI Women’s National League every Wednesday from next week.

The NWSL – Nine Years Strong

Impetus is delighted to welcome Catherine Paquette, of Her Beautiful Game as our newest writer. Catherine will be producing weekly round ups of the NWSL as well as playing a leading role in our coverage of next season’s FAWSL, international football and many other aspects of women’s football. Here, Catherine gives us all the background to the NWSL.

Nine years.  It is a big number for professional women’s soccer in the United States.  It is big because it represents the National Women’s Soccer League’s current duration.  This number is three times as long as the two other previous professional leagues have lasted.  

This did not happen by chance.  The NWSL was designed to be cost effective, very conservative and originally was supported by the national footballing associations of Mexico, Canada and the United States of America.  These national associations supported it through direct funding and the subsidization of national player salaries allocated to the league. 

A lot has changed since the 2013 debut season though.  Mexico pulled out of the agreement and established its own league in 2017.  Of the eight original franchises, five remain. Three teams folded, one was sold to another market and six new franchises were created.

The league currently has ten franchises playing: the Chicago Red Stars, the Houston Dash, Kansas City, NJ/NY Gotham FC, the North Carolina Courage, the OL Reign, the Portland Thorns, Racing Louisville FC and the Washington Spirit.  Two other new franchises, Angel City FC in Los Angeles and San Diego’s NWSL team are set to join the league in 2022.

The NWSL has not just grown in franchises but also in visibility. In its inaugural year teams averaged 4,270 spectators a match.  In 2019, when stadiums were last allowed at full capacity, this number had nearly doubled.  The Portland Thorns had an average attendance of 20,098 people, with a season high of 25,218 their stadium’s capacity.

While the first year of the NWSL had nearly every game broadcast for free on YouTube with sometimes very low resolution, one can now watch nearly every game on CBS or Paramount+ in the US and on Twitch internationally with relatively good resolution.

Much still needs to happen though.  The salary cap has more than tripled, from $200,000 to the 2021 cap of $685,500 per team, as has the minimum salary from $6,000 to $22,000 a year.  While salaries have increased, the NWSL like many other women’s leagues around the world thrives on the backs of its lowest salaried players.  

The same can be said of the NWSL’s current infrastructure.  Playing and practicing conditions have greatly changed for the better. However, again, like many women’s leagues around the world the NWSL suffers from an infrastructure gap with the men, unable to always find adequate and affordable soccer specific stadiums.  

At present two teams, the OL Reign and KC, play their games on temporarily converted baseball fields.  One team, the Washington Spirit, has an agreement to split its home matches between three different stadiums located in two different states as well as Audi Field in DC.

Above: Portland Thorns players in front of another packed house. Photo: Soccer Stadium Digest

The NWSL has come a long way, but is still striving to improve.  This improvement is supported by players, the league and also by fans, many of whom were drawn to the league due to the success of the United States Women’s National Team and the 2015 Women’s World Cup held in Canada.

It is this fan support, and the NWSL’s desire to ensure that it grows into the best women’s league in the world, that lead it last year to perhaps it’s greatest coup so far.  

While most women’s football leagues around the world were severely hit by COVID, with many originally not returning to play, the NWSL was able to organize a new competition and become the first league in North America to return to play.

The NWSL Challenge Cup, held in June and July of last year, led to record viewing numbers and a fantastic display of the quality of play within America’s only pro women’s soccer league.  The NWSL followed this up with a fall series where its then nine teams were separated into three groups and played a four match series each.

Due to the original uncertainty with regards to stadium attendance and the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the NWSL decided to start its 2021 season with its second iteration of the Challenge Cup.  The Portland Thorns, one of the league’s consistent high performers since the inception of the league, won the cup in a final played against NJ/NY Gotham FC.

Which leads us to the current 2021 NWSL season. Like previous season, each team will play a 24-match regular season, with at least one home-and-away against each team. The season started on May 15th and is set to conclude October 30th.

Eight teams will make the play-offs, with the top two seeded teams skipping the quarter-finals and progressing directly to the playoff semi-finals.  The NWSL Championship is set for November 20th and the competition will not take an Olympic break.

A number of big signings entered the league, many from the English FAWSL. Several Americans internationals who had gone to play overseas during the 2020-21 season, chose to return and sign for NWSL clubs.  There are also a number of short term loans, ranging from leagues such as the French Division 1 to the Mexican Liga MX Femenil.

Above: Portland Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna “AD” Franch clears in the game between the Thorns and North Carolina Courage last night. Photo: Andy Mead/ISI PhotosAndy Mead/ISI Photos

The beginning of the season has seen some expected results and a few surprise ones.  This past Saturday was the league’s first Super Saturday, where all ten teams met in five matchups.  So far teams have played between six and eight matches.  

Like in most seasons, the Portland Thorns and the North Carolina Courage have had relatively strong starts to the season. They met each other on Super Saturday with the Courage winning 2-0.  The win propelled the Courage to second in the league with the Thorns falling to third.

New expansion teams Kansas City and Racing Louisville have experienced some growing pains.  KC received the bulk of its players from the now defunct Utah Royals while Louisville built from its team scratch. 

Both clubs are less than seven months old and are still trying to find their feet.  Racing has fared much better than KC, who has yet to record a single win.  

A 3-0 win this weekend by Louisville over the Chicago Red Stars showed that they have the playing ability to develop attacks and score goals.  While questions still remain about their defence, the win placed them sixth in the league. 

KC on the other hand suffered yet another defeat.  While they scored early, through a wonderful goal by Amy Rodriguez, and looked like they may register their first franchise win despite a more dominant Washington performance, the team once again broke down in the final third of the match.  They let in one goal in the 78th minute and a second deep into injury time.  They remain last in the league.

The Washington Spirit and Gotham FC have continued their increase in form, after several difficult seasons.  Both teams are composed of relatively young squads supported by a number of seasoned veterans. 

Gotham’s pre-season went exceptionally well with an appearance in the Challenge Cup final.  Through good strategic counter attacking play they were able to beat the OL Reign on the road 3-0 on Super Saturday.  

The Washington Spirit have also had a good early season.  Bolstered by new recruits and the maturation of young talent drafted over the years they have shown a more disciplined and attacking minded team than in previous years. They also recorded a win on Super Saturday, described above.  The Spirit and Gotham currently sit fourth and fifth in the league respectively.

The Houston Dash, which has never qualified for the NWSL Playoffs, have had an inconsistent start.  This is surprising considering the 2020 form the team had which lead to their win of the Challenge Cup.  They have since had little change in the team’s squad.   

This inconsistency saw them loose to NWSL newbies Louisville last week, yet beat the Orlando Pride 2-1 on Super Saturday.  The win took them from ninth to seventh in the league.

The Chicago Red Stars have also had an inconsistent start despite also having little change in their squad.  While they are missing a few top players due to injury, and have never been able to replace Sam Kerr scoring-wise, the team started this season with lacklustre performances.  

Above: Danielle Colaprico of Chicago Red Stars (24) battles with Ashley Sanchez of the Washington Spirit last season. Photo: Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

This lacklustre run kept up on Super Saturday when they were beaten by Louisville at home 3-0.  After the loss the Red Stars have fallen to eight place.

The OL Reign, who were bought at the end of 2019 by French perennial winners Olympique Lyonnais, are one of the surprising teams so far.  Despite having an impressive squad bolstered by French Lyonnais loans, Manchester City’s Karen Bardsley and a number of world class international players, the team has suffered four defeats.  

The Reign have shown strong performances but they are not living up to its quality. While they often seem to pass the ball with creativity and ease, they are not able to finish, registering no goals in the majority of their regular season games.  

Moreover, mistakes made by several players in vulnerable positions have led to easy goals against as have a number of counter attacking plays.  This arguably happened in their 3-0 loss to Gotham on Super Saturday.  The Reign currently sit in ninth placed.

Perhaps the biggest shock though in 2021 is the Orlando Pride.  The Pride have long been a team packed with talent, including two of the top women’s scorers ever: Alex Morgan and Marta.  Despite this talent the Pride have been perennial under performers, both from individual players and from the capability expected of such a team.

This has changed in 2021.  The Pride were the only undefeated team in the league prior to Super Saturday, and had won four matches and drawn three.  Individually its players, including Morgan and Marta, are finally finding club form.  

The early lead this success gave them helped with their standing.  Despite a 2-1 loss on Super Saturday to the Houston Dash, the Pride currently still lead the NWSL.

The league, which does not have a consistent schedule and often has matches on weekend and mid-week days, next plays Friday, July 2nd.  Matches will also be held on July 3 & 4.  Internationally games are free to watch on Twitch.  The full schedule and match links can be found at

Catherine’s weekly articles on the NWSL will appear every Tuesday on Impetus starting on 6th July. For more information on Catherine and all of our contributors, visit About our Contributors (

Irish Women’s National League Round-Up

Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport sets the scene in the FAI WNL ahead of the beginning of the second stage of the season.

With the return to action following the mid-season break, with most sides having played nine games, the league is heating up.

Peamount United

Unbeaten with a near-perfect record. Having interviewed multiple Peamount players and coaches over the past 3 seasons the word near will bother them. Their most recent game was a 2-2 draw against Wexford, who are the only team to have taken points off them throughout the last two seasons and were the last team to beat Peamount in a competitive game.

Eleanor Ryan-Doyle has been a sensation and is clear as top scorer in the league. The fact an Ireland call-up hasn’t come along yet is bewildering. She scores when she wants, and the evidence suggests she wants to score a lot. I witnessed first-hand an immaculate diving header against DLR Waves at the UCD Bowl, she should be an international player.

They haven’t been short on goals elsewhere, they’ve scored 26 in total with Aine O’Gorman chipping in with five. They also have the second-best defence in the league having only conceded four goals.

Peamount are clear favourites to go on to win the league as the simply do not tend to lose games. They aren’t runaway leaders, as they are just three points clear, but have taken ten points from four games against their fellow top four sides. They won’t walk the league but it will take a lot to stop them.


The closest challengers in the two previous seasons, Shels sit three points behind the leaders. Last year the league was decided in a game between Peas and Shels, the previous season we came close to needing a play-off as the title race went to the final day.

Shelbourne have been impressive this season, with a narrow loss to Peamount and a scoreless draw with Wexford the only blots on their copy book. Noelle Murray, Saoirse Noonan, and Emily Whelan have all contributed goals, and they can expect to have Ireland international Chloe Mustaki, formerly of Charlton Athletic, back from injury at some in the season as she has returned from training.

They have been solid defensively only conceding three goals, two of which were against Peamount, and look set to run the champions close once again.

Above: Wexford Youths’ Ellen Molloy. Photo: Kilkenny People.

Wexford Youths

A stuttering start gave way to a winning run. They’ve recently got two draws against Peamount and Shelbourne, and the only points they have dropped have been to the other sides in the top four.

They are the joint top scorers in the league. Captain Kylie Murphy has been instrumental in their success with Ireland’s newest sensation Ellen Molloy also contributing goals. Ciara Rossiter has proven herself to be the one of the best left backs Ireland has on offer and should surely be in the mix for an Ireland call-up ahead of the world cup qualifiers.

Their most recent result was a thrilling comeback against Peamount having been 2-0 down. They’ve gone unbeaten since the opening and have only conceded more than one goal on one occasion.

Tom Elmes left his post as head coach to take on a lead role with the U16’s team. We wish Tom all the best in the future.

DLR Waves

The Waves are having their best ever season. They’ve played eight games and have only dropped points in games against the top three.

Despite being the lowest scorers in the FAI WNL, they boast one of the league’s top scorers in Carla McManus, who is sponsored by Impetus.

DLR have played some of their best football this season. They are a young team but have drastically matured over the past three seasons since Graham Kelly took over. They’ve been led by captain Catherine Cronin and vice-captain Rachel Doyle, two experienced players in the league. They boast arguably the best goalkeeper in the league in Eve Badana, and their centre-back pairing of Jess Gleeson and Niamh Barnes have been solid throughout the season.

We’ve been covering their home games at the UCD Bowl, with post-match reaction from players and coaches. You can get our videos on YouTube here. We also have a dedicated page to the team on our site.


It’s been a difficult season for Galway with head coach Billy Clery stepping away due to family commitments. Rachel Kearns has been their stand out player throughout the season. Galway have shipped heavy defeats to some of the top teams but have also picked up wins against teams below them to keep them in the top five. A break may have done them good after picking up their first win in five games.


Have put it up to most teams in the league when they’ve played them. A 6-2 win over Treaty on the opening day looked to have set the season up promisingly, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. They were only narrowly beaten by Shelbourne and DLR Waves. Their top scorer is Erica Burke with four goals.

Treaty United

Head coach Niall Connolly admitted when we spoke to him on the show that the coaching staff had possibly tried to change too much in their first season in charge. They got their first win of the season last month against Cork, and before the break they beat Bohemians. It looks like things may start clicking a bit more in the latter part of the season. Rebecca Horgan is their top scorer with four goals.

Above: Katelyn Keogh, Athlone Town’s top scorer. Photo: Final Whistle

Athlone Town

It’s been a difficult season for Athlone but they finally got their first win of the campaign at the end of May against Galway. They have had the most players sent off this season with four players being shown red cards. Katelyn Keogh is their top scorer with three goals.

Cork City

After a successful season last year things haven’t gone to plan for Cork, who are yet to win a game. The highlight of their year has been Lauren Egbuloniu’s form after she returned from injury late last year.

This marks my final article for Impetus. I have enjoyed my time here and appreciate the opportunity given to me by Ben and the site.

Our coverage of the FAI WNL will continue every Wednesday with a round-up of all the previous weekend’s action.

Carla McManus: Riding The Crest of a Wave

Impetus are exceptionally proud to announce our sponsorship of Carla McManus, the twenty year-old DLR Waves striker who is a Republic of Ireland U16, U17 and U19 international. Ben Gilby spoke to Carla about her footballing journey so far and how she is coming back from the bitter blow of injury which prevented her from taking up a scholarship offer from a US college.

Carla (pictured above by Peter Minogue Photography), is one of the brightest young stars in the FAI WNL, but association football was not the only round ball sport that she has played.

“I started off playing GAA (Gaelic sports) from a young age in my local area, I took to the sport straight away. I played football with my cousin and other boys too. I would say I was about eight or nine years-old at this stage. When playing with my cousin I would be doing the shooting and he would be in goal, he went on to be a keeper in later years and myself a striker.

“The next move was to start with a football team, I joined a boys’ underage team first, maybe U12s. I played for Ballinahown FC and from this got picked for the local academy, the Athlone District Schoolsboys/girls league (ADSL). Myself and another girl, were the only two girls on this boys’ academy team. With the ADSL we went to the Welsh International Super Cup in Wales in 2012. This was one of my best football memories from my youth, in the cup final I stepped up to take the first penalty, surrounded by two teams, on my own and the opposition of mainly boys, and I scored the penalty in front of a big crowd.

“Since then I think I always wanted to feel a feeling like on that day and that’s what keeps me focused and motivated on my goals. Shortly after this, I had to move from the boys’ team to a local girls’ team. The competition wasn’t great but I was getting to play and scoring seven or eight goals a game with Bealnamulla FC.

“From here, I got picked to represent the Midlands in the Gaynor Cup in 2015, this was U16s for me when I was 14/15. At this tournament, all the counties of Ireland compete. Here I got scouted for the Ireland U16 squad and from then on in I was called into every underage Ireland camp except for one or two due to injury or personal reasons. So I played u16s, 17s and 19s internationally.

“I played with the U16s and scored two goals in the first tournament with them in Hungary, I then played U17s and went to the Euros, the qualifiers, elite rounds and then the finals too which was an unbelievable experience. I was top goal scorer in the group for qualifiers with five goals in three games, a hat trick in the first one after coming on at half time.

“I then played two years at U19s for the Republic of Ireland. The first year I scored two goals in the qualifying rounds which were held in the Netherlands. In my second year I scored one goal in the qualifiers and then another one in the elite round. I have scored a total of 11 competitive goals for Ireland at underage, then just loads of friendlies of course.”

Carla outlined some of her most memorable moments in a Republic of Ireland shirt so far.

Above: Carla has played age group international football for the Republic of Ireland from U16s upwards. Photo: Kilkenny People.

“My best international memories would have to include my first goal for Ireland in Hungary at U16 level. My Mam and Aunty were there and it was probably the best feeling in the world, of course my mother was a ball of emotions that evening and the tears were flowing.

“The other experience that sticks out was my hat trick for Ireland U17s in Cork. Not only was it a home Euros match but I had come on at half time and I wanted to prove a point, I think I managed to make my mark in front of my friends and family in the crowd, there is no feeling quite like it. Football is the thing that means the most to me in the world, I spend most of my days thinking about how I can positively impact myself as a player whether it be going to the gym or working on things by myself or recovery from a hard session making sure my muscles are ready to go again.

“So making it to play for Ireland, playing internationally probably being the greatest thing for any player, and putting on that green shirt means even more when I put in the work, it all pays off when success comes and I am grateful for all success I have had and hopefully will have in the future.”

We then turned to the club game and Carla’s experiences in the top tier of Irish women’s club football, the FAI WNL.

“Club wise I played for Peamount United underage for roughly two seasons and played half a season with Peamount in the FAI WNL but I was 17 and unfortunately wasn’t getting enough game time, so I had to be included in the Irish set up. I moved to Kilkenny United whilst doing my leaving certificate as it suited me and I was getting game time at Women’s National League level.”

Just as Carla was hitting her straps in the FAI WNL, disaster struck – one which was to have far reaching consequences.

“Unfortunately, I suffered an ACL injury halfway into my second season with Kilkenny in May 2019. I had surgery in August 2019, two days before my birthday. The injury happened two months before I was meant to go on a scholarship to Seton Hall University in New Jersey. I came back from injury 17 months after, 15 months post op, signing for DLR Waves in August playing my first game at the end of October 2020.

Signing for Waves was the best decision I could have made and I am loving every minute there at the minute. I could not have wished for better comeback from injury.”

Above: Carla leaps to get a header in against Treaty United earlier this season. Photo: Peter Minogue Photography.

Carla is aware that her far reaching achievements at such a young age are down to the influence from some quality coaches and managers as well as a fantastic support network from her own family.

“I think for me I’ve had some great managers along the way such as Sharon Boyle, Dave Bell, Dave Connell being international managers, club managers such as Yvonne Lennon, Gerry Doyle from Bealnamulla, Shay Martin , Toney Maher from Peamount underage and from the WNL, Shane Murray at Kilkenny United. And now of course Graham Kelly and John Sullivan from DLR Waves.

“All of these managers impacted myself as a person and player over the years. They thought me to be coachable, open to learning and always wanting to acquire information and new skills to become a better playing. They taught me that sacrifice and hard work is needed on and off the pitch and to be successful I need to apply myself to the best of my ability. Each thought me to take criticism on the chin but also to be able to critically analyse my own performance and see where I could improve. The Irish set up gave me the tools to deal with more big stage games and more pressure, also thought me how to prepare right and recover right, the importance of looking after your body off the pitch and how it can impact the game. Obviously the doctors and physios I have met along the way had endless information and I think they influenced me hugely, taking into consideration what they thought us to this day, and still learning.

“At the minute I have a great support system at Waves with the management team and my teammates, sometimes I can be hard on myself because my first full game was at the start of this season against Wexford since coming back from injury, still getting back into it and they remind me how far I have come and to be patient with myself.

“DLR Waves are having a huge influence on me as a player at the minute as the standards are so high that I am challenged to be better and better every week to ensure I am playing, the competitive atmosphere is paired with a comforting one with a buzz around the squad and everyone rooting for each other, even with the competition for places.

“My parents are always supportive and encouraging of my football and training. My mam brings me to a lot of my training, matches and the gym. She loves watching me play. Both she, my dad and brother always remind me how proud they are of me, which pushes me on even more because I want to make them proud of me of course.”

I then asked Carla how she would describe herself as a player to someone who hadn’t seen her play.

Above: Carla sprints away for DLR Waves against reigning champions Peamount United earlier this season. Photo: Peter Minogue Photography.

“I always find this a tough question, I don’t really like to toot my own horn. But to answer that question, I think I am strong. I work hard off the pitch on my strength which leaves me powerful and pacey on the pitch. I am quite fast and that’s paired with my attacking mind-set. I am very direct and have one thing in mind when I get the ball and that is to create goal scoring opportunities for myself and my teammates. I don’t think there is any better feeling then scoring.

“I am a goal scorer, I love scoring. On the pitch I try be vocal despite my teammates saying I don’t speak very loud, I try give information to the girls around me, communication is so important on the pitch. I have improved on my link up play since coming to waves and my movement is getting better.

“Finally, I think I am a hard worker and I would run until I dropped for my team, whether it be pressing, defending from the top or making runs behind the defence while attacking. I am always open to learn and take any constructive criticism to make myself a better player.”

With the first chinks of light appearing at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, Carla outlined how the last sixteen months or so have impacted her.

“I think the pandemic actually gave me the time to work on myself, mentally and physically. I got to know myself and got more comfortable by myself independence being an important thing, not depending on others for gratification and having happiness with your own company. I think it thought me that spending time looking after your mind away from other people is important and not being dependent on others opinions to be happy, not looking for reassurance for my actions. I now feel completely comfortable working on myself for myself.

“It also gave me time to work on my knee rehab from March in 2020 until August and going in to join DLR Waves, there were pros and cons. The cons being that I was by myself a lot doing my recovery and could have done with a bit more guidance and observation from physios. It’s hard to know if what you are doing is right when you are on yourself. There is this uncertainty that’s hard to shake when you do not have anybody to turn to in person to look at it and give feedback.

“I think it helped me to become stronger mentally and physically going through this tedious and long recovery. It is hard to put into words just how grateful I am to be able to step on a pitch again and kick a ball, when I could not even do that for so long, it made me realise how much football actually is to me and how badly I want to play it for as long as I can and as much as I can. This mentality I have now makes me more aware to prepare right, recover right and play my heart out like every game is my last.

Above: Carla is loving life at DLR Waves this season. Photo: Peter Minogue Photography.

“I did not find the pandemic as hard as some of the other people around me, it was difficult not seeing my friends and not being able to do the things I would normally do, but I learnt to adapt and do other things to improve myself.”

With Carla being a first team regular at DLR Waves this season, I asked her to give us an idea about what life is like at the club.

“Since coming into the club and working to get back from injury I have had nothing but support and encouragement from everybody there. The energy around the team is amazing from coaches to players to the physio team and it’s just a great group working tirelessly towards the same goal.

“The intensity of the training and effort from every single person involved is unmatched and that is why I think we will go places as a team. We are a young team and the group hasn’t been together that long so we are still developing and gelling finding the right combinations. I think we have the potential to compete for the top spot in the league and cup over this season and the ones to follow.

“We have great strength and conditioning input from John Sullivan who has his own gym and was also a footballer in the men’s national league, so his experience and knowledge is very valuable to us. He got us through pre-season and got us strong and fit with zoom workouts and runs, which were very tough but we are benefiting from his blood, sweat and tears mentality.

“For myself I love training and would train and workout everyday if I could so it suits me to a T at Waves where that work ethic is nurtured and can thrive. It is exciting to be supported in the training we do collectively and individually, we are all rooting for one another and I have massive respect for this environment.

“I believe we can push on now and start really challenging to be the best. During matches, you’ll never see anyone give up and if somebody is having a bad day, their teammates are there to push them on, we also have unbelievable depth in the squad and any substitute that comes in can make an impact, we use the term game changers instead of subs.”

With this weekend heralding the beginning of the second of the three phases of the FAI WNL season, Carla looked back at how the campaign has gone so far.

Above: Carla putting in a shift for DLR Waves against Bohemians earlier this season. Photo: Peter Minogue Photography.

“I think the season is going relatively well for us so far, considering we know we haven’t been playing our best football when it comes to game day, we have more to show. We’re in fourth place, nine points behind the leaders Peamount United. However, we are still working and getting the results for the most part, some games have been a little disappointing for example the Shelbourne game we did not show up in the first half but came out and in a big performance in the second half and we were unlucky not to come away with a draw at least.

“I think the second half in the Shelbourne game and how we played just shows we can compete with the top teams because I believe we are a top team. We just need to start bringing our game to the opposition from the first minute of every game and keep pushing on getting points on the board.

“For myself I am enjoying every minute with DLR Waves. I am challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone which I think is exactly what I need. I picked up a knock at the end of the first game against Wexford but also scored my first goal of the season. I missed the cork and Galway games with that ankle sprain but I am back now fully recovered and worked my way back into the starting eleven.

“I am happy to be playing and getting good game time too. I have scored a few goals in the first half of the season but I still think I have more to give and I am growing in fitness and confidence each week, improving with each week of training and games, which is exciting, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the season.”

With the FAI WNL season progressing through the summer until November, Carla outlined her aims for the remainder of the campaign.

“Personally, I want to play well and perform consistently in every game, and of course score as many goals as I can.

“The main thing I aim to do in every game is work as hard as I can because that is the base for a good performance and from there, I think you get your rewards, there’s no excuses for not giving maximum effort in every game in my eyes. I will do the simple things right and be involved in attacks creating opportunities to score goals.

“I would also like to stay fit and injury free for the rest of the season so I will aim to recover right and prepare the best I can for the remainder of the season. I would also like to continue to enjoy playing my football as that is one of the most important aspects too and can help you play better too.”

Above: Goal scorer – Carla celebrating one of many superb strikes for DLR Waves this season. Photo: Peter Minogue Photography.

Finally, we turned back to Carla’s international career and her hopes of being selected for Vera Pauw’s senior Republic of Ireland team.

“I would love to get a call up to the senior Ireland team, but one thing I have learnt though is to not depend on this too much. I feel that this is not the be all and end all and doesn’t depict how good of a player you are or how you should value yourself as a player.

“I will work and play as well as I can regardless of whether Vera Pauw decides to call me in or not, I think it is important to know your worth as a player and know how to recognise if you are performing well or not, not just depending on that call up. I believe that way it will happen for you once you focus on your game and being the best you can possibly be and be happy doing that.

“I think I work hard in the gym and on the training ground and that I will get there in the end if I continue applying myself. Football is my priority and I spend majority of my time training and thinking about how I can be better and improve. If I get the call up I will be delighted and if I do not I won’t drop my head and it won’t change my approach or attitude towards my game.”

Impetus’ coverage of the FAI WNL sees weekly round-ups of matches, plus features with clubs and players. Every FAI WNL match is available to watch free both live and on demand at We’ll be catching up with Carla regularly throughout the season.

The Swedish Scene

@DandalBs updates us with this week’s news from around the Swedish women’s game. There’s the latest Damallsvenskan and Elitettan action plus all the latest movements and speculation ahead of the transfer window opening.


After the international break, action resumed with crowds still capped at 500 due to coronavirus restrictions.

The bottom two in the league met as Växjö hosted Djurgården and the outcome was a 0-0 draw to the frustration of 124 fans. It was a disappointing result mostly for Växjö, who have only scored two goals all season and earned just three points from nine matches. Djurgården’s point sees them move up a place above Piteå.

BK Häcken took advantage of AIK missing nine regular players to crush the Solna based side 10-0. Stina Blackstenius grabbed a hat-trick, Milica Mijatovic (pictured at the top of the page, photo: BK Häcken) got a brace with Anna Julia Csiki, Lotta Ökvist, Elin Rubensson, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Dilya Yr Zomers scoring the others. The 208 gathered fans went home ecstatic.

Piteå suffered a 3-0 defeat to Hammarby in front of 329 fans. Madelen Janogy (2) and Nina Jakobsson, both of whom were part of the Piteå team who won championship medals from 2018, were on the score sheet.

KIF Örebro went down 2-0 at home to Kristianstad after goals from Svendis Jane Jonsdottir and Therese Åsland in front of a crowd of 373. The result is Örebro’s third straight defeat. The game was also notable for a dramatic thunderstorm with lightning which made the teams leave the pitch very abruptly.

Above: Loreta Kullashi, Eskilstuna United’s match winner. Photo: Goalzz.

Eskilstuna United took the points against Linköping thanks to a goal from Loreta Kullashi just after the hour mark in front of 500 spectators.

Two goals in the opening 18 minutes from Olivia Schough put leaders Rosengård in charge against Vittsjö. Australian international Emily Gielnik gave the visitors hope when she got a goal back just after half-time, but Sanne Troelsgaard hit a third for the hosts with a quarter of an hour to go to the delight of the 400 fans.

Table From: Svensk Fotboll.

Round Ten Fixtures:

Hammarby v Växjö

Kristianstads v Piteå

Rosengård v BK Häcken

AIK v Eskilstuna United

Vittsjö v Djurgården

Linköping v KIF Örebro  


Above: Arianna Veland – scorer of the goal that lifted Morön BK into second spot. Photo: Top Drawer Soccer.

The game between Älvsjö AIK FF and IF Brommapojkarna was played last weekend whilst everyone else had a break. Älvsjö’s 2-1 loss sees them drop to fifth and it was one of a series of score lines that have changed the top of the table significantly. Umeå IK slipped out of the top two for the first time all season after a 2-1 loss to Morön BK who have rocketed up the league in recent weeks and are now in second spot on goal difference from IK Uppsala who have a game in hand. Morön took the honours thanks to two goals in the final six minutes after they went behind to a first half strike from Henna-Riikka Honkanen. Wilma Stenman and Arianna Veland sealed the win for Morön. IK Uppsala’s scheduled game at Sundsvalls DFF has been rearranged to 18th August. IK Kalmar moved up to fourth after seeing off Borgeby FK 2-1. Two goals from Tabby Tindall put Kalmar in front. Sophie Sundqvist got a goal back with just under 20 minutes to go.

Latest Results: Älvsjö AIK FF 2-1, IF Brommapojkarna, Lidköpings FK 2-3 Mallbackens IF Sunne, Morön BK 2-1 Umeå IK, IFK Kalmar 2-1 Borgeby FK, IFK Norrköping 4-0 Bollstanäs SK, Jitex Mölndal 2-2 Alingsås FC United, Sundsvalls DFF P-P IK Uppsala.

This Week’s Fixtures: Sundsvalls DFF v IF Brommapojkarna, IFK Kalmar v Bollstanäs SK, Älvsjö AIK FF v Mallbackens IF Sunne, Lidköpings FK v Alingsås FC United, Morön BK v IK Uppsala, IFK Norrköping v Umeå IK, Jitex Mölndal v Borgeby FK

Table From: Svensk Fotboll.


BK Häcken have further strengthened their squad by signing Danish internationals Stine Larsen and Mille Gejl Jensen on 18 month deals. Striker Larsen arrives from FAWSL side Aston Villa. It had been rumoured that she was due to sign for AC Milan but failed a medical. Jensen joined from Brøndby.  

Above: BK Häcken’s new signings, Mille Gejl Jensen (left) and Stine Larsen (right). Photo: Expressen.

Michelle De Jongh is back at Vittsjö after her half season loan stint with FC Fleury 91 in D1 Arkema. It appears that she will have to wait for the transfer window to open 15 July before she can play.

Kristianstad‘s talented youngster Evelina Duljan, who was on loan to Växjö earlier in the season, has decided to take a break from football. The star has been playing Damallsvenskan since she was 14 and was called up for Sweden’s U18 only a few days ago.

AIK‘s Honoka Hayashi has been named as one of four reserves for Japan’s Olympic squad. All 22 players will be in an Olympic bubble starting now, which means Hayashi will miss AIK’s next three matches.

Above: AIK’s Honoka Hayashi – called up for Japan’s Olympic squad. Photo: Aftonbladet.

Norwegian star Frida Maanum has announced she is leaving Linköping after four seasons, but her new club remains unknown.

Lisa Topping: Loving The Return To Football

Impetus has been hugely privileged to be able to sponsor Lisa Topping of Chorley Women (pictured above in a late spring friendly against Chester by John Shirras) from the FA Women’s National League Division One North this season. In this our final catch up of 2020/21, Lisa tells us about how the re-start of football went for her in Lancashire.

“Finally on the pitch we’ve trained in person twice a week and played a run of friendlies which has been great. It’s been a really good opportunity to be back together as a team and spend some time kicking a ball before pre-season starts in July. In such a short time we’ve really grown and developed as a team showing both individual and team improvements throughout,” explained Lisa, who was clearly overjoyed to be able to be playing for Chorley again.

“Off the pitch, not much has changed in terms of working and walking the dogs…except the better weather we’ve been having is a nice and welcomed change!” 

After so long in lockdown, Lisa highlighted just what it was like to finally return to train. “The first session back was like waking up for Christmas morning. We were all buzzing to see each other again. Team banter and friendships are something special so to be able to reconnect after a long spell of virtual meetings was brilliant. 

“Ben Gooding and the rest of the management team were very aware that we needed to kick a ball and that’s what we did! We weren’t run in to the ground for no reason, instead we did technical work that built up fitness in itself. And this tactic has shown, where our fitness has improved but our football skills have too.” 

With the lockdown periods now hopefully behind us, Lisa reflected how the last 18 months or so has changed her.

“As a person who is family oriented, it’s been really challenging being apart from my family and not having the same social connectedness we usually have. Similarly with football, it’s always been a central element of my life and part of how I define myself and not having that ability to play has been difficult. I think until you lose something, you don’t necessarily fully appreciate it. And lockdown has definitely made me so much more appreciative of both my family and my football. Possibly two things I’ve taken for granted since they’ve never been restricted.”

Lisa had a good run of form in Chorley’s games when football was able to return, being named as players’ player of the match in one of them. 

“I’ve been pleased with my form in the games. I was apprehensive at first about being rusty in game like scenarios but that soon went away after the first pass or tackle. Ben and management are really supportive and focused on development and I think that training style has really helped me improve aspects of my game. There’s a culture at Chorley of not being afraid to make mistakes and that lack of pressure really helps just enjoy playing the game.

Above: Lisa calm on the ball under pressure against Chester recently. Photo: John Shirras.

“I think we’ve done well in the games post lockdown. Two of those were against teams in our league (Bradford City and Liverpool Feds) and we had solid performances. We lost to Bradford but took tons of positives to build on in to next season and we won against Liverpool Feds who compete for the top spots in our league, so we were happy. Management have ensured that everyone has had minutes during this time too so it’s been a full squad effort. The club is doing something right because it’s worth noting that four of our U18s stepped up and played minutes with the first team during these games, demonstrating that progression is coming through.”

With there being a short break now before the traditional pre-season regime kicks in, Lisa is keen to build on the progress of the last six weeks or so of training and matches.

“I intend to get back into a running/fitness regime for the month we have off so we can keep building on the progress we’ve made. I also intend to make sure I spend my weekends wisely as football season limits how much we do so I envision a camping trip will be on the cards as well as maybe some mini breaks locally.” 

With the FA recently announcing the outcome of promotion applications for next season, Lisa highlighted how it will impact Chorley in terms of the shape of the FAWNL Division One North.

“We’ve recently heard that Brighouse Town have been promoted from our league and into the FAWNL Northern Premier. It’s very much deserved for them as they’ve always been a top contender and we wish them all the best in the league above. 

“Then, a local team in FC United of Manchester are coming into the league as well as Alnwick Town, which is a long six hour round trip for us. But hopefully spectators are back allowed then so I can enjoy the ride whilst my Dad drives!”

Everyone at Impetus looks forward to following Lisa and Chorley on their journey in the FAWNL Division One North next season.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Key Defender Returns For Glory Plus Award Night Wrap

It’s been yet another busy week in Western Australia as Perth Glory brought back a big name from their past and recognised last season’s key players at their awards night.

Perth Glory confirmed earlier in the week that experienced defender Kim Carroll (pictured above by Jason McCawley of Getty Images) has re-joined the club for the 2021/22 W-League season.

The 33-year-old made more than 60 appearances in purple over the course of five seasons, featuring in two Grand Finals for the Western Australians, before returning to her previous club Brisbane Roar in 2020.

Having helped the Queenslanders reach the Finals last season, the former Matilda with 54 senior international caps to her name is looking forward to playing her part in driving Glory towards the same objective in the coming campaign.

“Essentially I’m based in Perth now, so I wanted to return to my new home,” she said.

“Head coach Alex Epakis has a plan for the club in the short and long term, he’s very competitive and has that winning mentality, so it all seems very exciting.

“He’s signed some young, up-and-coming players and is looking to create a competitive environment and only good things can come from that.

“At a personal level, I want to be fit and healthy and playing at my best and challenge other people within the team as I hope they challenge me.

“And in terms of the team targets, any team would be crazy if they said they didn’t want a top-four finish.”

Epakis, meanwhile, believes that Carroll is another key signing for Glory whose positive influence will be felt on and off the field.

“Kim returning to the club is without doubt a fantastic outcome.
She has a priceless amount of experience and will bring an added level of leadership to our group.

“From all my contact with her so far, it is very clear that she is a determined character and is ready to come back to Glory and play a part in helping the team improve. “Overall, Kim is a very welcome addition and I can’t wait to work closely with her to help her perform at the best level possible.”

Glory CEO Tony Pignata is similarly pleased to see a player of Carroll’s stature back in the Glory fold.

“Kim remains one of the standout defenders in the competition and was a cornerstone of our side for many years. It’s fantastic that she has decided to return and be a part of what is a very exciting project currently underway at the club,” he said.

Meanwhile on Friday, Liz Anton was named as Perth Glory’s 2021 Most Glorious Player (MGP) Award winners at the club’s awards night held at Crown Perth.

Above: Liz Anton won the big award on the night at Crown Perth. Photo: Perth Glory FC.

Anton was rewarded for a string of fine performances during what was her maiden W-League campaign, with her fellow-New Zealander, Lily Alfeld, also claiming a trophy in the form of the W-League Players’ Player of the Year Award.

Others to feature on the W-League honours list were Western Australian duo Caitlin Doeglas and Hana Lowry who shared the W-League Golden Boot and Marianna Tabain who was acknowledged for reaching the milestone of 100 W-League games.

The Swedish Scene

Above: Caroline Seger, who earned her 215th cap for Sweden against Australia this week – more than any other European footballer. Photo: UEFA

@DandalBs highlights all of the week’s news from Sweden.


Sweden drew 0-0 against Australia in Kalmar in a match which marked Caroline Seger’s 215th cap – a record for any European footballer man or woman. Sweden’s starting line-up and tactics will almost certainly not be the ones that they will employ against the Matildas in the Olympics. “You don’t want to give away too much” said striker Kosovare Asllani.

Sam Kerr came closest to scoring when she crashed a fierce effort against the bar from the left hand side of the box midway through the second half. Sweden had the better of the territory and possession of the first half but couldn’t get past an inspired Teagan Micah who was on debut for Australia in goal.

Chelsea captain Magdelena Eriksson left the pitch in the first half with Magdalena a bag of ice around her left calf. Team doctor Mats Börjesson insists that it won’t prevent her from playing at the Olympics.

Ben Gilby’s analysis of the game from a Matildas perspective can be read by clicking here


The Damallsvenskan took a week’s break due to the international window. Action begins again this weekend.

Table From:

Round Nine Fixtures:

Växjö v Djurgården

Piteå v Hammarby

BK Häcken v AIK

KIF Örebro v Kristianstads

Eskilstuna United v Linköping

Rosengård v Vittsjö


Above: Sara Eriksson – scorer of IF Brommapojkarna’a winner at Älvsjö. Photo: IF Brommapojkarna Facebook.

Only one game was played last weekend, and it saw Älvsjö AIK FF host IF Brommapojkarna at Älvsjö Idrottsparken. The outcome was a major dent in the home side’s promotion ambitions. Mathilda Johansson Prakt put the visitors ahead after 68 minutes with Maria Poli equalising nine minutes later. Bromma took the points at the death when Sara Eriksson hit the winner for only her side’s third win of the campaign. All other Round Nine games will be played this weekend.

Round Nine Fixtures: Älvsjö AIK FF 2-1, IF Brommapojkarna, Lidköpings FK v Mallbackens IF Sunne, Morön BK v Umeå IK, IFK Kalmar v Borgeby FK, IFK Norrköping v Bollstanäs SK, Jitex Mölndal v Alingsås FC United, Sundsvalls DFF v IK Uppsala.

Table From:


Fridolina Rolfö has agreed to move to a new, as yet undisclosed, club and is looking very much forward to join them. Lyon and Barcelona have been rumoured as her destination, but Rolfö only says that it is very flattering to be mentioned in connection with such clubs.

KIF Örebro‘s star Jenna Hellstrom has been handed a five match suspension as a result of incidents from the match against BK Häcken on 30th May. There was a normal two game ban for accumulated yellows and for a red card offence. The additional three seems to be for cursing the referee. Hellstrom is not pleased with the long suspension, which her club unsuccessfully appealed against, and thinks she’s being victimized for not behaving as expected for a woman.

Above: Anna Anvegård, strongly linked with a move to Everton in the FAWSL. Photo:

As discussed in The Swedish Scene over the past month, Rosengård‘s Anna Anvegård, the Damallsvenskan top scorer 2019 and 2020 has now been strongly linked to Everton by the Telegraph Newspaper in England. Another rumoured Everton target, Hanna Bennison, now also has been interest from Bayern Munich. Rosengård’s sporting director, Therese Sjögran has previously stated that when Bennison goes, “she won’t go for just a million (kroner – approx £100,000). Bennison has a year and a half left on her contract.

Gaëlle Enganamouit, formerly a player at Eskilstuna United and Rosengård has just been announced as the new head coach of Cameroon.

International Round-Up

The last week has seen a large number of international games around the world. Ben Gilby rounds up the action.

A busy pre-Olympic spell of international action began on Thursday 10th June when Japan produced a dominant 8-0 win over Ukraine.

Two goals each from Yuzuho Shiokoshi and new Arsenal signing Mana Iwabuchi (pictured above) set the Games’ host nation on their way. Further strikes from Saori Takarada, Hina Sugita, Mina Tanaka (penalty) and Yuka Momiki completed the rout.

Slovakia earned an impressive 1-0 win over Chile, who are in the same group as Team GB at the Olympics. Patrícia Hmírová’s strike just after the half hour mark was the difference.

Italy were another European nation who achieved a fantastuc result – seeing off a Netherlands side without Vivianne Miedema, 1-0. Cristiana Girelli’s penalty after 14 minutes sealed the victory.

Ben Gilby’s in-depth analysis of Australia’s 3-2 defeat in Denmark can be read by clicking here

Sweden celebrated Caroline Segar’s incredible achievement of making 214 appearances for her country – drawing level with Therese Sjögran at the top of the charts. Five hundred spectators were allowed into the stadium in Kalmar and saw BK Häcken’s in-form striker Stina Blackstenius grabbed the winner with 66 minutes gone.

Scotland returned from Northern Ireland with a narrow 1-0 win over Kenny Shiels’ understrength side. There was a great atmosphere at Seaview with five hundred fans watching Northern Ireland for the first time since their incredible qualification for the European Championships.

Above: Caroline Weir – scorer of Scotland’s winner against Northern Ireland. Photo: Dunfermline Press.

The Scots put the home side under pressure from the off as Claire Emslie put an effort wide at the near-post. She also hit the bar with effort later on in the opening half.

Birmingham City’s youngster Chloe McCarron had a free-kick which landed on the top of the Scottish net.

The deciding moment came with twelve minutes left. Cliftonville’s Toni-Leigh Finnigan made contact with Christie Murray in the box and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Caroline Weir to dispatch the spot kick and Scotland left with the win.

Spain continued their excellent run of form with a straightforward 3-0 win over Belgium in Alcorcón. The Spanish were absolutely dominant, with 74 per-cent of possession and had 11 shots on target compared to just one for the Belgians.

Mariona Caldentey put the Spanish ahead just before the break before Alexia Putellas doubled the advantage from the spot after 50 minutes. Aitana Bonmati completed the scoring with 15 minutes left.

France earned a 1-0 win over Germany in Strasbourg thanks to a strike from Kenza Dali after half an hour.

Friday 11th June saw a further four games. First, in Cartagonova, Brazil swept aside Russia 3-0. Two goals from Bruna Benites Soares either side of half time were added to by Andressa Alves da Silva’s strike nine minutes from the end.

Canada, who will face Team GB in the group stage of the Olympics, played out a 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic.

Finland and Poland were involved in a dramatic clash in Pinatar, Spain. The Finns built a 2-0 lead with two goals in as many minutes. Eveliina Summanen put them ahead with 23 minutes on the clock and Karolina Klabis’ own goal doubled their advantage shortly afterwards. Dominika Grabowska got Poland a lifeline just before the hour mark and Ewa Pajor completed the comeback with less than a quarter of an hour to go.

The Republic of Ireland recovered well after a tough first half in their visit to Iceland. The home side built a 2-0 lead within the opening fifteen minutes through goals from Agla María Albertsdóttir and Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir. Vera Pauw’s side struggled to get their passing going in windy conditions, and Dagný Brynjarsdóttir made it 3-0 before half-time. Goals from Heather Payne and Amber Barrett made things more respectable from an Irish perspective. 

Portugal will take a lot of comfort from their defensive performance against the USA in a match that the World champions only won by a single goal late in the second half. Despite dominating the entire game, the USA’s sole converted effort came from Sam Mewis who headed Christen Press’ corner into the roof of the net. The USA had 26 shots on goal and earned 15 corners but Portugal worked extremely hard to stay in the game throughout.

Above: Jassina Blom – scorer of Belgium’s winner against Luxembourg. Photo:

In the sole match played on 12th June, a much changed Belgium side, playing their second match in 48 hours, squeaked past minnows Luxembourg 1-0. The Belgians totally dominated the match with 72% of possession, 27 shots on goal compared to just one for Luxembourg and 11 corners. Despite this, they only had Jassina Blom’s ninth minute strike to show for their efforts.

On Sunday 13th June, Japan continued their goal-laden warm up spell for the Olympics with a 5-1 win over Mexico in Toshigi. Mana Iwabushi put the Japanese ahead on 36 minutes and it remained 1-0 until the break. Less than sixty seconds after the re-start, Mina Tanaka doubled Japan’s advantage. Mexico, who put in a fantastic effort throughout which saw them muster 46 per-cent of possession and have seven shots on goal, got back into the game just three minutes later when Alison Gonzalez scored. Sadly for the visitors, Yuka Momiki restored Japan’s two goal advantage four minutes later. Momoka Kinoshita and Jun Endo completed Japan’s tally in the last seventeen minutes.

Tunisia returned from Jordan with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Hazim Lamti (34) and Ala Hamdi (81).

Latvia had a difficult first half at home to Estonia, conceding four goals in less than half an hour. Lisstte Tammik (16), Berle Brant (28), Kairi Himanen (43) and Mari-Liis Lillemäe (45). Renāte Fedotova got a goal back for the Latvians in the final minute of the game.

Above: Berle Brant – on target for Estonia in Latvia. Photo: Playmaker.

Lithuania gained a 2-0 win over Faroe Islands with Rimantė Jonušaitė (16) and a penalty from Ugnė Lazdauskaitė in the 78th minute sealing the win.

Malta won the battle of the minnows against Montenegro thanks to a strike just after the half hour mark from Jade Flask.

Despite going behind to a ninth minute strike from Croatia’s Izabela Lojna, Slovenia eventually ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. Two goals from in three minutes before half-time from Mateja Zver (41) and Lara Prašnikar (44) put the home side in front. Second half efforts from Zver (58) and Dominika Čonč completed the win.

In the day’s other game, Costa Rica made a fast start against  Guatemala. Raquel Rodriguez gave them the lead after a quarter of an hour with Gloriana Villalobis making it 2-0 on 33 minutes. Gloria Aguilla gave Guatemala some hope just before the break, but Melissa Herrera’s strike after 64 minutes sealed the win for Costa Rica.

On 14th June, the United States swept aside Jamaica 4-0 in Houston. It took just 23 seconds for the World champions to go ahead when Rose Lavelle played in Carli Lloyd in the six yard box. The USA legend took a touch and swept in home past Sydney Schneider, becoming the oldest ever goal scorer for her country at the age of 38 years and 332 days.

It was 2-0 after just seven minutes when Christen Press went down in the area and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Lindsay Horan to net. Margaret Purce scored only her second international goal just after the 20 minute mark when she shot home at the near post after Press played her in.

It took until stoppage time at the end of the second half for the USA to get a fourth and it came courtesy of Alex Morgan. Sam Mewis chipped a ball towards Morgan around the penalty spot region for the former Spurs player to head home.

Italy gained another victory – this time against Austria, but they had to work very hard to achieve it.

Angelica Soffia put the Italians ahead after just three minutes but Nicole Billa levelled ten minutes later. It remained level until the early stages of the second period when Soffia hit her and Italy’s second (53). Back came Austria though with Carina Wenninger’s equaliser. With a quarter of an hour left, Elena Linari grabbed the winner from the spot.

Russia gained an impressive 1-0 win against Finland thanks to Nadezhda Smirnova’s goal on the hour mark.

Above: Russia’s Nadezhda Smirnova, match winner against Finland. Photo:

Brazil and Canada played out a 0-0 draw.

15th June was a busy night of action with some quite incredible results.

It is fair to say that no-one predicted the result of Netherlands’ clash with Norway in Enschede. The Scandinavians fielded a regular side, but were, incredibly completely taken apart 7-0 by the Dutch.

Vivianne Miedema put the Netherlands ahead on the quarter of an hour mark and Sherida Spitse made it 2-0 ten minutes later. It was a spell of three goals in seven minutes which totally transformed the outlook.

Jill Roord (51), an Ingrid Moe Wold own goal (53) and another strike from Miedema (57) took the tally to five. Shanice van de Sanden (73) and Danielle Van de Donk (84) completed the rout.

It was a night to forget for the Norwegians who could only muster five shots on target compared to the Netherlands’ 15.

Chile came away from Germany with a superb 0-0 and also managed to earn as many shots on target as their hosts.

Sweden and Australia battled out a 0-0 draw – for Ben Gilby’s match analysis, click here

Costa Rica swept aside Guatemala, going one better in their encounter on 13th June with a 4-1 win. Three goals in 20 minutes decided matters in the first half. Shirley Cruz (15), Stephanie Blanco (32) and Cristin Granados (36) put the hosts in the driving seat. Andrea Alvarez (76) got one back for Guatemala before Diana Saenz completed the scoring with seven minutes left.

Above: Aitana Bonmati (6) and Marta Cardona (18) in celebratory mood after another great win for Spain. Photo: Diego Souto (Getty Images).

Spain continued their excellent run with a 3-0 win over Denmark. Aitana Bonmati put the hosts ahead in Alcorcón in first half stoppage time. Patri Guijarro doubled their advantage mid-way through the second period before Bonmati completed matters four minutes from time. It was a dominant performance from the Spaniards who mustered 19 shots to Denmark’s one.

Wales went down to a 1-0 loss to Scotland at Llanelli when Erin Cuthbert took advantage of Welsh keeper Laura O’Sullivan’s error which gave the Chelsea star an open goal to shoot into after a poor attempted pass to a team mate on the hour mark.

Cuthbert came close earlier when her effort came crashing back off of the crossbar. Her FAWSL team-mate Sophie Ingle, playing in midfield came closest for the Welsh.

The Republic of Ireland went down to their second defeat in four days against European Championship qualifiers Iceland in Reykjavik. This reverse means that Vera Pauw’s side have now lost their last seven games. The Irish were far more solid in defence that in the first encounter, allowing the home side just opportunity in the first half when Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir’s effort was saved by Irish keeper Courtney Brosnan at the near post.

Amber Barrett was one of Ireland’s best players, sending an effort wide of the post. Megan Connolly also let fly with a ferocious shot from 30 yards, which Icelandic keeper Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir pushed round the post.

Ireland would rue these missed opportunities as Þorvaldsdóttir put Iceland ahead. Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir doubled the Icelandic side’s advantage with ten minutes to go.

Above: Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir’s goal put Iceland ahead against the Republic of Ireland. Photo: @berglindbjorg.

The final game of the international period saw USA take on Nigeria. Once again, the World champions dominated the game with 72 per-cent possession and made more than twice the number of passes than the Nigerians. However, they found it difficult again to convert possession and chances into goals. The USA scored in stoppage time at the end of each half with Christen Press netting just before half time and Lynn Williams at the end of the match.

A Caribbean Diary Part One

In this, the first of a regular series of articles for Impetus, James Thomas, the newly appointed head coach of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national team, speaks to Ben Gilby about his footballing journey and how he aims to take the Caribbean nation to the World Cup in 2023.

Above: James Thomas, in his previous coaching role in the Welsh Women’s National Performance Centre. Photo: John Smith/Same Old Smith Photography – FAW.

James Thomas’ coaching career started at the age of 16 at Cardiff City FC and has taken him to the USA, several top level English clubs and international set-ups for both England and Wales. He is now in the early stages of an exciting opportunity on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

“I started coaching at Cardiff City on a work experience placement for their Football in the Community scheme assisting with, and then delivering sessions at local schools, clubs and school holiday camps. This developed into a job for me and I spent about nine years working within the community scheme and Centre of Excellence at the club. During this time I also spent a season working with the Football Association of Wales, and their Girls South Wales Centre of Excellence. I went on to spend three years working in Southern California coaching at various clubs with Girls teams predominantly. When I returned from the US I had a spell as a coach for Manchester United working on their Soccer Schools program.”

“After a couple of years out of the game, I took a role working within the England Women’s & Girls Elite Talent Pathway as U16s Head Coach at their South West England Advanced Coaching Centre (ACC) in Bristol. I spent 3 years at the ACC and this led to an opportunity to join Bristol Academy WFC (now Bristol City WFC) initially as a Head Coach of the U14’s, but during my time there I also held roles as Assistant Coach of the U20’s WSL Development Squad, that featured players such as Lauren Hemp, Aimee Palmer, Flo Allen, and Lily Woodham all of whom have gone onto careers in the WSL and internationally.

“My last role at Bristol City was as Head Coach of the WSL Academy & 16-19 College programs whilst also being part of Willie Kirk’s staff in and around the first team environment.”

“In 2018 I was given the opportunity to join the Wales Women’s National Team staff and during my 3 years with the FAW, I was fortunate enough to work across a variety of roles with the U17/19 and Senior National Teams including Coach, Assistant Coach and Analyst. I also had the opportunity to be Head Coach for an experimental U16 UEFA Development Tournament that was held in Slovenia in 2019. I also spent three years working as a coach within the Women’s National Performance Centre.  Outside of my commitments with the FAW, I also held the role of Assistant Manager of Cardiff City Ladies FC, who compete in the FA Women’s National League.

From working with the FAW to now taking over as the head coach of Trinidad and Tobago is a huge jump. James explained how it came about.

Above: James gets a point across during Wales Women’s Performance Squad Training. Photo: John Smith/Same Old Smith Photography – FAW

“I had been thinking for the past 12 months or so about what the next step in my development as a coach should be, and when the changes within the FAW Women’s staff started happening at the beginning of the year with staff leaving I felt that the time for me to take the next step. Although I had remained at the FAW, I felt this was the right time for me to move onto a new role that would challenge me.

“The position with Trinidad and Tobago was advertised in January, and it immediately took my interest as the standard of players they have is very good and felt that my experiences and thoughts on the game could add value to them as a national team and as I said I was looking for a challenge and challenges don’t come much bigger than trying to qualify for a FIFA World Cup!

“They had 195 coaches from around the world apply for the job, so I knew I was in for a tough challenge, but was confident that my experiences and ideas would stand me a good opportunity of progressing through the process of multiple interviews and shortly after I was contacted by the General Secretary of the National Association to formally offer me the role, which I of course accepted there and then.

“I have just relocated to the islands full time. We are launching a National Performance Program and this will see us working with the domestic players three or four times a week, so it is essential I am there full time to make sure I can control that program and to set the standards I expect of the players and staff within the environment.”

“Additionally, I have already started looking at players in Europe who have Trinidad and Tobago heritage to see if they could be added to the mix and there are a couple on the radar already.”

James outlined his plans for his first weeks and months in the job. “As far as the National teams are concerned, we are working right now on the organising camps and hopefully four friendly games ahead of our World Cup qualifying campaign with starts in November.

Above: Promotional artwork for the Trinidad & Tobago National Team. Photo: Trinidad & Tobago Football Association.

“The immediate goal is to implement a game model that will afford us the best chance of success in the qualifying campaign. The players have a ton of ability and potential, and are great athletically, but from what I’ve seen from the previous games I have watched there has been a lack of organisational structure within the team. My job and the job of my staff is to add a lot of coaching detail to the team’s game plan.”

With more places than ever before available for World Cup qualification, James confirmed that a major goal would be to make it to the tournament with the Caribbean side.

“Of course, it will be tough and we have a lot of work to do in a relatively short space of time, but that is the challenge now for the players and staff – to learn the game plan inside out so that we are able to hit the ground running come qualifying in November.”

James ended by considering what he wanted his legacy to be for women’s football in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I want to be able to look back and be proud of the work we have done and the legacy I have left. Not just in terms of the Senior National Team performances, but also the impact on the development of the game domestically.”

Impetus will be following James Thomas’ progress with Trinidad and Tobago with regular interviews over the coming months as the team embark on the road to the 2023 World Cup.