Above: Guro Reiten contesting possession for Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. Photo: Ben Phillips for Impetus.
When Sam Kerr won Chelsea’s player of the season, their fanbase was divided. A lot felt that the Western Australian deserved it – she has come up trumps for the team this season, especially in domestic cups showing why she is one of the best strikers in the world right now, while the other part felt Reiten should have won it for her consistent goal contributions through the season.
However, when The Athletic named their team of the season and didn’t include Reiten, the fanbase was shocked, and justifiably so.
This piece is written to shed more light on why Reiten should be in every WSL team of the season, and why she deserves all the individual accolades (even ahead of Kerr).
Reiten concluded the season with 20 assists, this is more goal contributions ahead of her celebrated colleague, Kerr, and other attackers like Leah Galton, Alexia Russo, Frida Maanum, Kenza Dali, Chloe Kelly, and more. In fact, only two players provided more assists than Reiten – Khadijah Shaw and Rachel Daly whose renaissance has been the talk of the town.
Talking of Renaissance, it is the first time we have seen the Norwegian spend a huge chunk of time playing on the left throughout a season. Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has rotated her as an inverted wing-back or left back, sometimes as an attacking midfielder on either side of the midfield, but this season, she has held down the role in the absence of Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder either beside or behind Kerr, tripling her assists contributions during the process.
Reiten was Chelsea’s best-attacking player in the WSL, joint-best player in the UWCL (tying with Sam Kerr with less minutes) and while Kerr has come up trumps in domestic cup finals, Reiten’s brilliance was crucial to getting to these finals.
Reiten was Chelsea’s best player of the season, indubitably so and the way she wrapped up the season, especially the last two matches is a testament to how productive her campaign has been.
On the penultimate weekend, she opened the scoring against Arsenal, and then her free-kick led to the second in a 2-0 win. On the final weekend, she assisted Kerr’s opener and then scored the second herself. Two crucial games, two Player of the Match awards. Isn’t that how to etch your name in the hearts of the fans?
The Norwegian star has consistently delivered excellence throughout the season contributing almost one-third of the team’s attacking output, she also has had spectacular performances like the four assists and one goal contribution in the 8-0 win over Leicester City last December, or the 8-0 win against the Albanian champions, Vllaznia where she registered four assists in 74 minutes, before being substituted. If she has delivered these electric performances, why is she not picking up the individual awards?
In a recent conversation with BBC where she was dubbed the baby-faced assassin, Reiten mentioned how she isn’t concerned about the individual awards or accolades, as long as the team is winning, however, the midfielder has been so influential on this Chelsea team this season, and her individual brilliance should not go unrecognized.
Reiten should stroll into any WSL team of the season, and should be spoken about with huge respect. The fans know this, and it’s high time journalists recognized this to sing her praises as deserved.
While our immediate focus is on the World Cup starting in less than 50 days, if this season is a predictor of what is to come, then we can expect more moments of magic from the assist queen next season. Until then, let the football community beware, Reiten is here, making history, and we should be committed to documenting this story.
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Above: Rossvale (red and yellow) will be taking on Stirling University on Sunday for a place in the SWPL 2. Photo: Kelly Nelson.
This Sunday the 2022/23 Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) season concludes with the first-ever play-off finals. Both the SWPL 2 (12:10 KO) and SWPL (16:10) finals will be held on the same day, back-to-back at Broadwood Stadium.
After a dramatic final day in both the SWPL and SWPL 2, these matches provide an opportunity for clubs to earn promotion or to retain their current league status.
Over 500 tickets have already been sold, with entry for the full event just £3 for adults and free for concessions. Both matches will also be live on BBC ALBA, the first women’s matches at this level to be broadcast.
In the SWPL 2 play-off final, Stirling University take on SWF Championship side Rossvale, with Impetus sponsored Lauren Coleman in their squad.
Stirling University finished seventh in SWPL 2, 12 points clear of bottom-placed East Fife, but 16 adrift of Queen’s Park in what was an extremely competitive league.
Looking ahead to the match, Stirling University Head Coach, Nile Robbins, said: “We are really excited for the play-off. We’ve been playing well and building momentum in recent weeks, with the knowledge that everything we do now puts us in the best position possible.
“The players have been giving everything in each training session, as we know how much this means and we are looking forward to showing everyone what we can do on the 4th June.”
Rossvale enter the Play-off Final after a last-day victory over Renfrew. The SWF Championship side knew a draw would be enough, but they were comfortable 3-0 winners on the night to claim their spot as runners-up.
Rossvale First Team Manager, Julie McSherry, said: “We are finally coming to the end of a long and exciting season. I couldn’t be happier with the progress we have made as a team and as a club. The girls have been absolutely brilliant all year and shown great resilience when things haven’t gone our way to always bounce back. We look forward to all of the challenges to come next season and beyond.”
In the SWPL play-off final, Hamilton Academical face Gartcairn.
The New Douglas Park side finished 11th in the SWPL but took the battle to avoid the play-off spot to the final day of the season. Away to Dundee United they earned a point, which wasn’t quite enough to leapfrog their opponents to guaranteed safety.
Hamilton Academical Head Coach, Gary Doctor, ahead of his final game for the club said: “Obviously the play-off position we wanted to avoid but while it is disappointing, it is also a chance to finish our season on a high with our own Cup Final in that effect.
“We have been playing well after the split and took things down to the last game which shows just how competitive SWPL has been. Anything can happen in a one-off match and we will be doing everything to impose our style onto the match and come out as the winner”.
Gartcairn finished runners-up in SWPL 2 after a final-day victory over Stirling University. The side, who were only promoted in 2021/22, have either been top or second in the table for the vast majority of the season as they now look to achieve back-to-back promotions.
Gartcairn Head Coach, Robert McCallum, said: “I am immensely proud of my players and backroom staff in getting to the playoff finals considering we are merely two seasons old. “We are under no illusions that we are the underdogs but we truly hope can do ourselves proud on the day and manage to play the occasion.”
Fiona McIntyre, SWPL Managing Director, said: “We look forward to concluding an exciting 2022/23 season with these play-off final matches. The format of the one-legged ties adds drama and tension that I have no doubt will result in absorbing football and a momentous occasion for all involved.
“We are also delighted these matches will be shown live by BBC ALBA. This is a strong signal of the growing strength and interest in women’s football in Scotland as we expand the level of coverage throughout the game.”
AFC Wimbledon‘s newly crowned Young Player of the Year Rosie Russell has been at the club since the age of 10 and has now played over 100 first-team games for the Dons. Thestarlet spoke to Ben Gilby about life at the club and how they are determined to finally make it into tier three this time next year (31/5/23).
Above: Rosie Russell striding forward for AFC Wimbledon against Ashford Town (Middx) this season. Photo: Emily Topping, supplied byRosie Russell.
Rosie Russell, quite simply is AFC Wimbledon. She joined the club at the age of 10, made her first team debut at the age of 16, and has now clocked up over 100 senior appearances.
Russell is one of those players who is an absolute joy to watch. Full of running, creativity, and her deep passion for the Dons is obvious in everything she does on the pitch.
These are qualities that the 21-year-old identifies in herself. “Not only as a player but as a person, I like to consider myself incredibly committed and motivated. I throw myself at everything will all the effort I can give. I think my will to do well only drives me further; which I hope comes across on the pitch. I’m always keen to learn and improve so I can keep developing as a player.
“My game has changed over the years. Initially, I was more of an attacking-minded midfield player. I think this has given me the ability to feel comfortable with the ball at my feet and enjoy forward play; it’s the creative flair of attacking football that I love. I know now, being a defender, my priority is clean sheets, but I certainly enjoy getting forward and being involved at the other end of the pitch too.”
The young AFC Wimbledon star outlined how she got signed for the club whilst still at primary school.
“I think my love for football was initially more of a need to be busy and active. It was the sort of thing I’d occupy myself with – kicking a ball around the garden or at break times in school. It all developed from there. I went to a few of AFC Wimbledon’s holiday camps and after-school sessions, before deciding to trial for the girls’ section. I loved it.
“The thrill of competitive games, being in a team, and of course, winning! My time at Wimbledon has been fantastic. Through the youth age groups, we won our league various times and also competed in cup competitions and finals. I remember my first-ever shirt number for AFC Wimbledon was number two.
“I was initially always an attacking player, so I don’t know why I wanted that number, but maybe it was a sign that I really belonged at full-back! It feels somewhat sentimental to be wearing number two again.”
Over the 13 years that Russell has been at the club, she has experienced so many highs. “Not only for the women’s team but with reserves and youth groups too,” the full-back said.
“One moment to mention would obviously be my first appearance for the Dons, and following that my first goal too! It was extra special as it was a game played at the men’s team’s then-stadium, Kingsmeadow!
“Another would be our run in the league plate competition and reaching a national final, it’s something I am proud of everyone for. Within that cup run, on an individual level, my 120th-minute equalising goal against Portsmouth in the quarter-finals is up there too.
“I would also love to include the first game at Plough Lane as one of my proudest moments in a Dons shirt because it felt like a summation of everything I have put into football over the past years.”
When it comes to the biggest thing that she has had to deal with during her footballing career so far, Russell points to the moment when she was called into the first team at the age of 16.
“I think I’ve been fortunate not to experience any real challenges, I’ve always been and felt supported. That can only be a credit to AFC Wimbledon.
“I would say, not that it was a real challenge, but being 16 and in the first-team squad was quite daunting, especially considering everyone else was older than me. I was always mindful that I was at a different stage of life: at school while everyone else has full-time jobs. But that didn’t cause any problems because everyone was so considerate and supportive.
“I like to think that if/when I do encounter any challenges I’ll remember to be present and appreciate what I do have, and the experiences I have had with football. That way I should stay positive and be able to overcome anything that is a challenge. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.”
Looking back at her 13 years at the Dons, the defender believes the most positive change for the team in that time is the ability to play matches at the club’s Plough Lane Stadium
“I think that is a huge achievement for the club and something I make a point to appreciate every time we have the privilege of playing there. Playing at Plough Lane, I feel has allowed us to draw a bigger fan base and increase the visibility of the women’s game within the local community.
“I find Wimbledon a very welcoming place, and that’s down to all the players, staff, and everybody else behind the scenes who go to immense effort to facilitate this. The love and care everybody has for the club is something I can visibly notice and therefore I embody that model.
“I feel a duty to put 100% effort in both on and off the pitch. Engaging with fans after the game is what I feel I can do to create that special experience for people watching and hopefully give that personal touch to someone who can then feel how special the club is.”
Russell has been part of another hugely successful season for AFC Wimbledon in both league and cup, but once again it ended with the heartbreak of missing out on promotion to tier three. Dons have beaten countless teams from the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier over recent years in cup football to emphasise their quality and their ability to compete at a higher level.
Going unbeaten in the tier four FA Women’s National League Division One South-East from 28th August to the end of the season was not enough to seal the one available promotion spot. Just one league defeat all season, to Queen’s Park Rangers, did the damage. It’s something that the full-back finds very difficult.
“It is obviously incredibly frustrating, and something I am personally very disappointed about. We all know that we have the ability to compete in the higher league but have missed out on promotion. It’s important though not to dwell on the past, but to learn and move on. It’s something we can evaluate and look to use as motivation for the coming season. We will use the foundations we have created and continue with standards we have of ourselves to win the league this coming season.”
That aim of finally sealing promotion has been boosted with the vast majority of the Dons squad already confirmed to be staying at the club for next season already. Russell feels this is a huge potential advantage for the side.
“I think the continuity is important, having for the most part the same squad means we know from last season how each other like to play, so it’s only a positive. It should allow us to pick up from where we left off, and hopefully continue our long unbeaten run through the season.
Follow Impetus on social media – we’re @ImpetusFootball on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
The top of the NWSL leaderboard has become a log jam with six teams contending for the number one spot.
Following Gotham FC’s unlucky 1-1 draw against a quality Washington Spirit last weekend, the Bats have managed to hold on to the #1 spot atop the NWSL by a very slim margin of a single point. Gotham’s foe this week is the San Diego Wave, who are tied for second along with three other teams. Depending on the results across all matches there is every chance there could be a new number #1 by the end of round 10.
Gotham FC return home to play in front of what will be their biggest audience after two away games on the road while the Wave travel from coast to coast. Both teams will enter Red Bull Stadium on Sunday afternoon, AEST, with impressive home and away win records meaning there is very little to separate these two teams. Will there be an outright winner or will the match result in a draw?
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup starting in six weeks’ time, every NWSL team is looking to bank as many quality results as they can, so that in the absence of their star players, they have positioned themselves well to make the playoffs beginning late October 2023.
The San Diego Wave Gotham FC squads are very evenly matched in terms of depth of player talent and results achieved so far. Together the two teams have a combined total of 27 goals scored through nine matches, this match could shape up to be a box-to-box fast feet, offensive feast.
The Wave started the 2023 season in hot form notching up impressive wins at home before narrowly losing to OL Reign on the road. Through their last five matches, the Wave have achieved mixed results with three wins and two losses. There is no way of knowing in what form the Wave will arrive in as they come off two wins in a row. Based on their track record a loss is certainly a strong possibility.
On the other side of the pitch, Gotham FC comes into the match playing decisive football. They are brimming with confidence after taking down the OL Reign with a comprehensive 4-1 win. This is in stark contrast to the team who finished last in 2022. Gotham midfielder Delanie Sheehan commented on her team’s form so far, “Coming off of last year at the bottom of the table, it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s early.”
Gotham FC continues to maintain a winning formula in the 4-3-3 formation which has yielded positive results. The depth of players in the squad means the team can focus on their style of play knowing that every position is well covered no matter who the role holder is on any given day.
The Wave on the other hand have tinkered around with their formation but have largely settled into a 4-2-1 giving Alex Morgan free reign up front to be a pure striker. With Rachel Hill and Sofia Jakobson providing quality ball from the wings the Gotham wingers will be required to put in some big defensive pushes.
““I’m proud of this group of players, the football we are displaying, and how they believe in the style of the game plan,” said Gotham FC head coach, Juan Carlos Amorós.
Sam Kerr (Chelsea FC) holds the NWSL league record with 227 shots on goal, but two players are closing the gap including Gotham FC’s Lynn Williams with 218 and San Diego Wave’s Alex Morgan with 207. There is no doubt that these two players will be firing shots on goal – the crucial element is – which player will have the luck of getting the ball past the opposition’s goalkeeper?
Based on formations and player qualities we expect this match to be a game of to and fro. Gotham FC will come out on the front foot looking to stamp their authority on the match while the Wave will likely sit and ride out the early offensive onslaughts. The Wave will be looking to pounce on loose ball control, cutting off passes and intercepting, and implementing fast counter-attack initiatives when they present themselves.
Taylor Smith – Forward. Playing alongside Lynn Williams often means that Smith’s excellent performances are not given the attention they deserve. We encourage readers to keep an eye on Smith as her consistent superb match performances have her performing as one of the best in the NWSL this season.
Delanie Sheehan – Forward/Midfield. Coach Amoros quickly recognised Sheehan’s potential as a great player. After three matches being used as a substitute, Sheehan has since started matches playing in the front line on the wing and at forward. When chances to score arise, Sheehan has patience and poise when on the ball evidenced through the incredible number of shots on target with most of them being inside the penalty box.
Jenna Nighswonger – Forward. Gotham won the NWSL draft with the Nighswonger pick, and they have her for three years. She’s made a massive impact on the pitch for Gotham. Defenders should keep their eyes on her otherwise they will pay the price.
San Diego Wave are a team still working on their chemistry and onfield partnerships.
Alex Morgan – Forward. Has five goals and two assists scored in nine matches. Morgan has never been happier playing club football.
Sofia Jakobsen – Wing. Jakobsen is a mature player who is built for speed. Her positioning behind Morgan has yielded her two goals and an assist so far. Her overall form this season hasn’t been amazing however she put in a strong push against the Portland Thorns with a player-of-the-match performance.
Christen Westphall – Defender. Two assists so far this season. Her performance against Lynn Williams and all that Gotham has running at them will be important.
What to expect in this match –
Gotham FC have come out playing hard and fast right from the kickoff in their last few matches. They are brimming with confidence and establish their style of play from the outset. The Wave is going to need to play through the match with that same level of energy to be competitive.
Gotham FC boast the strongest left-hand side combination in the NWSL through a player channel of Nighswonger – Mewis – Smith. We expect to see the Wave’s V-shaped structure largely setting up camp in their own half with an eye to turning turnover balls into counterattacks.
Taylor Smith vs Alex Morgan. These two superstars of the women’s game line up against each other and it will be as exciting a matchup as they come. Morgan’s exceptional ability to position herself in front of goal makes her a total threat whereas Smith has a proven ability to cross the ball into empty spaces for her teammates to swoop in and score.
Keeper – Abby Smith vs Kailen Sheridan. Smith continues to assert her dominance in front of goal having conceded only eight goals so far. Sheridan on the other hand has conceded 11 goals, with six of those goals coming in two matches against a much less competitive Pride team and a very strong Spirit performance. However, Sheridan has hit a purple patch of form demonstrated by her saving seven out of eight shots on target made by the Thorns in the last round. Sheridan is considered one of the top few keepers in the world, however Smith is hot right now.
Backline – The Wave allowed the Portland Thorns to take 19 shots from inside their box in their last match with eight shots being on target. Gotham FC have a proven ability to take the opportunities that are presented to them. On the other side, Gotham Defender Bruninha comes into the match in excellent form with a Player of the Match performance against the Spirit. Casey Stoney will be asking a lot of her back line anchored by Naomi Girma.
When asked about her on-pitch relationship with Abby Smith, Bruninha stated “It feels really good having Abby back there as it gives me confidence to push higher up the pitch. And she directs us well about when to push and when to fall back”.
Midfield – The Wave have used an array of players in the midfield which shows the Wave are still searching for their best combinations. There are a lot of talented players in the Wave’s midfield and they all need to step up in this match. The biggest player to watch is Taylor Kornieck. Will she come in and make a difference? She’s a massive target, and surprisingly good with her feet when healthy. She needs to take care and keep away from needless fouls.
Front Line – Alex Morgan. That’s it. That’s the edge. Can the Gotham defenders hold out Morgan from scoring? She puts her body on the line in offense and defence. The exact same thing can be said for Lynn Williams. These are two of the most complete forwards in the world.
Coaching – Juan Carlos Amorós v Casey Stoney. Stoney is widely regarded as a player and fan favourite. Amorós is racking up the wins and motivating his team. This is one of the more intriguing coach clashes. Both are smart and strong tacticians.
Coach Amorós brings a wealth of experience across global soccer to Gotham FC, having served as a head coach of clubs in the top leagues in Spain, England, and the U.S. Amorós was coach of Real Betis Féminas from 2021 – 22 and led them to a club-record unbeaten streak in Spain’s top division. Having stepped into the role of Coach for Gotham FC in late 2022 the results the team are recording prove that he is a top talent.
Back Office – Jill Ellis versus Yael Averbuch West. Two of the most capable General Managers in the NWSL. Ellis, obviously a two time world cup winner, knows how to build a team. Averbuch West, took over a flailing Sky Blue / Gotham team and has turned the ship around. A former NWSL player herself, Averbuch is a slow burn of professionalism and knowledge with a pulse closer to the game.
Fans, Stadium, and Social Media – Gotham FC are making every effort to have a big crowd of fans in the stadium. With over 11,000 tickets sold in advance, this will be the biggest match attendance they have had so far this season. The allure of watching Alex Morgan plying her trade is unrivalled. With both teams having strong winning records playing away from home there is very little edge in this regard.
Darrell Allen delivers his final round-up of the women’s football action in Norfolk with coverage of the final two games of the season, with contributions from Tony Allen. (1/6/23).
Above: Caister completed a successful season with a 5-2 victory over the University of East Anglia on Sunday. Photo: SG Photography.
Norfolk Women and Girls’ League Division One
Caister 5-2 University of East Anglia
Caister finished their season on a high with an impressive 5-2 victory over the University of East Anglia (UEA) at The Allendale. A Bethany Turner hat-trick as well as goals from Poppy Loveland and Rebecca Waters saw Matthew Smith’s side claim a comfortable victory.
Caister were the dominant team through the contest as Bethany Turner and Poppy Loveland had early chances before UEA took the lead when a stunning cross from Rachel Lawrence was well-finished by Freya Standing. However, UEA were caught straight from the kick-off as a long ball to Bethany Turner saw the scores level within a minute.
Caister continued to be the better side but it was UEA who scored next when Rachel Lawrence’s shot cannoned off the post and into the net.
A carbon copy of the hosts’ first goal happened from the kick-off again as Caister made it 2-2 within a minute, a ball direct to Turner who blasted in for her second of the afternoon.
In a pulsating first half, Turner completed her hat-trick when she received the ball and danced around UEA goalkeeper Anoushka Williamson before slotting the ball home.
UEA, who were without many regular players due to the students’ examination period, battled on bravely as Lucy Gooding captained the team in her final game for the club before returning back home after her time at the university.
It was only Caister who looked like scoring in the second half and they did just that as Poppy Loveland struck a stunning fourth before Rebecca Waters added a fifth to complete a comfortable win for the hosts.
As a result, Caister and UEA finish the season level on 19 points with UEA higher due to a superior head-to-head record: the 7-1 victory over Caister earlier in the season secured them seventh ahead of Caister in one place below them. But both sides will be pleased with a good season seeing them staying comfortably in Division One after their first season at this level.
Norfolk Women and Girls’ League Division Two
North Walsham Town 9-0 FC Viking Valkyries
North Walsham Town rounded off a fantastic season in Division Two with a stunning 9-0 win at home to FC Viking Valkyries. Four goals from Rhiannon Holt, a hat-trick from Kiera Brown plus strikes from Grace Monsey and Paige Samwell saw the hosts claim a more-than-comfortable win.
After a cagey opening five minutes, North Walsham Town dominated the half. Rhiannon Holt scored the opener – a touch of Maradona’s 1986 classic against England as she went past three defenders before finishing hard and low into the net.
Kiera Brown’s hat trick began with a well-timed run and a good finish. A collision between Stella Fletch-Helps and the Vikings’ goalkeeper which saw both players leave the field meant the Vikings were then down to ten players.
After which, Brown added her second and North Walsham’s third, a nice move up the pitch from the team as Brown then received beat two defenders and scored. Despite the injury to Fletcher-Helps, North Walsham continued to play outstanding football.
Brown completed her hat-trick after a nice move started by Leah Carroll-Mileham: Brown received the ball and jinked past two defenders and scored to put Walsham 4-0 ahead.
Before the halftime break, there was time for Paige Samwell to add a fifth as she put away a rebound after Holt hit the underside of the bar with a shot.
FC Vikings Valkyries stand-in goalkeeper Chelsea-Louise Gladding made some fine saves to prevent the score being more than 5-0 at half time before Cerys Nicholas took over the goalkeeping duties for the second half.
North Walsham made several halftime substitutes introducing some of this season’s U16 squad for their first team debuts.
Grace Monsey made it 6-0 with a fantastic finish from distance and again hit the post as the hosts kept looking for more goals through the game.
Vikings went down to nine after a nasty looking off-the-ball knee injury and the game was turning into something of a training exercise for North Walsham and there was time for plenty more goals to be added.
Holt decided she wanted to be the star as she curled in an extraordinary effort, whilst, for the eighth, Brown hit the post then Holt was there to follow it for her hat-trick.
Holt made it four for herself and nine for North Walsham as she finished a good ball across from substitute Emily Hayes.
The emphatic victory completes a very successful season for North Walsham Town as they finish the season fourth.
Freya Ward was at Boldmere St. Michaels FC today to listen to England head coach Sarina Wiegman reveal her Lionesses squad for the World Cupfor Impetus, and Suvadeep Biswas provides EXCLUSIVE photography from the event.(31/5/23).
Above:Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman at today’s media conference to announce the England World Cup squad. Photo: Suvadeep Biswas for Impetus.
Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, starting in just 50 days, Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman announced her 23-player squad for what England fans will all hope is going to be a summer just as memorable as last year.
As anticipated, captain Leah Williamson has missed out on selection due to her ACL injury that she acquired in April, against Manchester United. However Millie Bright, England’s vice-captain (now captain) has made her way back into the squad after she was forced to pull out of April’s fixtures against Brazil and Australia after she picked up a knee injury against Olympique Lyonnaise in the Champions League.
Another blow due to injury comes to Beth Mead – golden boot winner in the Euros – again suffering an ACL injury back in November, whilst some held out hopes that she would just manage to make her way back into the squad, in an interview last week, Mead admitted: “The World Cup has come around a bit too soon”. Wiegman also commented that: “Including Beth in the squad was just not a risk that she I was willing to take”, for both the squad and the Arsenal star’s benefit.
In terms of those who were selected, Tottenham Hotspur’s star striker Bethany England has received an international recall after not being included in the squad since the World World Cup qualifiers back in September, where she scored a brace in England’s 10-0 win over Luxembourg.
After moving to Spurs in the January transfer window, the attacker has scored 12 goals in 12 games and was vital in keeping Spurs afloat in the WSL, which has resulted in her much-deserved World Cup call-up. Reflecting on her selection of England, Wiegman said: “Beth’s performances and resilience” were what made her decision to include her in the squad.
The number nine position is going to be one that is very competitive throughout the tournament with Rachel Daly and Alessia Russo also both excelling in the position throughout the WSL season with Daly winning player of the season and the Golden Boot (22 goals) and Russo winning the goal of the season award for Manchester United. I think we can expect a goal fest throughout the tournament.
Three players have been selected as standby options, as the squad is allowed to be altered up until the first game, against Haiti is played. These three players are goalkeeper Emily Ramsey, Jess Park, and Maya Le Tissier, all of which have recently made the big step from the U23s to the Senior squad, something that highlights Wiegman’s trust in England’s next generation.
Ramsey will leave the camp before the squad fly Down Under, whilst Park and Le Tissier will travel with the rest of the squad. Le Tissier missing out on the main squad was probably the most surprising to come out of the squad selection, despite having only two senior caps to her name. The defender’s quality performances and weekly starts for Manchester United made it a “really hard decision” for Wiegman which is why she has been selected as one of the few standby players.
Millie Bright has been named captain and has experience in captaining the Lionesses on numerous occasions in Williamson’s absence, including the 2-1 win against the USA at Wembley, in October, proving that there is no one better to take over the key role.
England will come together on the 19th June at St George’s Park, where they will begin their build-up to the tournament before leaving for their Central Coast base in New South Wales. Reflecting on these preparations, Wiegman said: “The players will have two weeks of no football to rest and recover from the season.
“Having longer than two weeks – which is what the calendar is stating- is going to work against the girls and the team, as they need as much time as possible to prepare before flying out to Australia, where all of the squad are going to have to beat the jet lag; having as much time as possible for the group to work on communication and get back into the routine of international football is going to be absolutely vital for England’s success.”
As part of the day at Boldmere St. Michaels, England boss Sarina Wiegman spent time talking to the club’s youngsters.
Suvadeep Biswas’ EXCLUSIVE photo gallery from the England World Cup squad announcement for Impetus:
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Hannah Hampton, Ellie Roebuck.
Impetus kicks off our extensive World Cup coverage from mid-June with our nation previews of all the 32 competing countries before our team of contributors based worldwide cover the tournament, including 10 Impetus contributors based in Australia and New Zealand for the duration of the tournament.
Above: WSL top scorer Rachel Daly’s selection as a striker was met with delight from the Impetus team of contributors. Photo: Suvadeep Biswas for Impetus.
As England head coach Sarina Wiegman named her squad for the World Cup at Boldmere St. Michaels FC earlier this afternoon, 10 members of Impetus‘ writing and photography team gathered to discuss the selections.
Here’s what our team had to say:
FREYA WARD: I’m very happy with this (squad).
MARIELLA PREW: I think it’s unfortunate that Maya Le Tissier missed out as she’s been playing well for United, but she’s young, so she’ll definitely get her chance.
AIMEE LOGAN: So happy Jordan Nobbs has kept her spot and very, very happy with Bethany England and Rachel Daly up front.
MATTHEW APPLEBY: Le Tissier is the only one I’m shocked about. I could see the arguments for Steph Houghton being included – who would have missed out? But I thought Maya Le Tissier was nailed on to be in there.
BEN GILBY: Agree, I expected Le Tissier to be in there. I have a few concerns over the midfield – come the knockout stages, there needs to be an enforcer in there, and not sure there is one…
MARIELLA PREW: Who would have missed out for Le Tissier? I don’t know who to swap for her.
JAY PATEL: I would have picked Le Tissier over Jess Carter.
RACHEL COHEN: I would have selected Le Tissier over Lotte Wubben-Moy even though Lotte seems a lovely person.
ABI TICEHURST: Being a lovely person doesn’t win you a World Cup.
MARIELLA PREW: Lotte has been incredible for Arsenal over the last few months though.
ABI TICEHURST: Maya Le Tisser and Jess Park will both be on the plane to Australia anyway in case of injuries.
RACHEL COHEN: That’s why I would have got Le Tissier instead. Carter provides something different and we need full-backs, especially with Lucy Bronze returning.
EMMANUEL FAITH: Is Katie Robinson a better choice than Nikita Parris and Ebony Salmon?
BEN GILBY: For Parris yes, Salmon, not sure.
AIMEE LOGAN: Maybe Esme Morgan and Le Tissier were the two to decide between? Both the young ones maybe? Or even Zelem considering she didn’t make the last squad.
MARIELLA PREW: It’ll be interesting to see if Sarina Wiegman starts Russo or Daly. Personally, I’d start Daly and keep Russo as a super sub.
ABI TICEHURST: Absolutely the best option.
AIMEE LOGAN: Agree for sure. Daly should be starting in my opinion.
RACHEL COHEN: Obviously for me, the most exciting selection is Beth England. First EVER Spurs player in the squad! And massively deserved.
RUBY VINCE: One hundred percent agree. Beth England for England.
BEN GILBY: I had my fingers crossed for her, as I had a feeling she wouldn’t make it, but brilliant that she is.
RACHEL COHEN: Could not have done more – her stats are a goal per game (only 0.01 per 90 behind Daly).
ABI TICEHURST: A point of poignance is perhaps that our number nines have just over twice, in terms of domestic goals, the attacking prowess of the campaign prior to the Euros which could prove important when you consider the fine margins of some of the latter games last summer.
Laura Coombs is also an interesting addition…she’s incredibly under the radar I think and it’s been eight years since her last England call-up, she’s an important part of our ‘experience’ over youth selection.
Nobbs back in the side is a real excitement, looking forward to some cracking link-up between her and Keira Walsh hopefully!
Coming later – Freya Ward reports from the media conference with Sarina Wiegman at Boldmere St. Michaels FC and Suvadeep Biswas provides exclusive photography from the event.
Impetus kicks off our extensive World Cup coverage from mid-June with our nation previews of all the 32 competing countries before our team of contributors based worldwide cover the tournament, including 10 Impetus contributors based in Australia and New Zealand for the duration of the tournament.
Jean-Pierre Thiesset summarizes the 22nd and final round of 2022-2023 D1 Arkema season plus his photo gallery from Lyon versus Reims from pitchside for Impetus (31/5/23).
Above: Olympique Lyonnais celebrate their 16th D1 Arkema title. Photo: Jean-Pierre Thiesset for Impetus.
Olympique Lyonnais 7-1 Reims
Lyon did not need to impose their talent to win in a game that was difficult for Reims, used to playing on a synthetic pitch, to keep the pace in the big Groupama stadium.
Rachel Corboz, who has signed for two more years with Reims, told me at the end of the game: “It was too difficult for us; this Lyon team is so strong”.
It has been confirmed that Delphine Cascarino suffered a partial right-hand ACL rupture and that she will not be ready for World Cup. Goals:Lyon – Dzsenifer Marozsan (2), Wendie Renard (9), Melvine Malard (30), Amel Majri (59), Eugénie Le Sommer (65, 80), Ada Hegerberg (74). Goal – Reims from Melchie Daëlle Dumornay (87).
Fleury 6-0 Guingamp
For their last game at home, Fleury obliterated Guingamp and this win gave them fourth place in the standings ahead of Montpellier. With more consistent results during the season against teams supposed to be weaker, Fleury could have finished third. Goals:Fleury – Léa Le Garrec (7, 84), Marine Dafeur (20), Ewelina Kamczyk (39), Aïrine Fontaine (57), Rosemonde Kouassi (71).
Dijon 2-1 Montpellier
Montpellier had more possession (almost 70%) but Dijon was more efficient and saved their place in D1 Arkema with this win. Goals:Dijon – Roselord Borgella (28), Meriame Terchoun (95). Montpellier – Faustine Robert (82).
Rodez 0–4 Paris FC
With this easy win, Paris FC secured third place qualifying for UWCL. Meanwhile, Rodez will join Soyaux in D2 next season. Goals:Paris FC – Clara Matéo (35), Mathilde Bourdieu (53), Ouleymata Sarr (71, 76).
Soyaux 0–3 Paris Saint-Germain
In a game with nothing at stake, this was an easy win for PSG. Goals:PSG – Ramona Bachmann (36), Amalie Vangsgaard (59), Sandy Baltimore (66).
Le Havre 2-4 Bordeaux
With this win, Bordeaux finished seventh in the standings and Le Havre eighth. Goals:Le Havre – Salomé Elisor (18), Nadjma Ali Nadjim (79). Bordeaux – Ella Palis (17), Maëlle Garbino (22, 68), Ateluce Marie-Sergine (39).
Jean-Pierre Thiesset’s exclusive photo gallery for Impetus from the Groupama Stadium:
It wasn’t just the D1 Arkema Olympique Lyonnais squad who celebrated on the day, below are Olympique Lyonnais U-19’s squad lifting their own league title:
South Melbourne continued to climb the ladder, Bulleen Lions returned to the winners’ list and Calder recorded their biggest score this season. Round 11 of the Victorian NPLW had some classy moments and yet another classic game.
Southern United 0-2 Bulleen Lions
Caitlin Friend has assembled one of the most eye-catching squads in the league. For the first eight rounds of the season, Bulleen remained well-organised and difficult to beat. However, they struggled to score goals despite the creativity of Rosie Rodger and a stubborn defence led by Alex Natoli.
They have some big guns back now, and the depth on display on their visit to Southern United was frightening. After scoring in Round 10, and twice midweek in the Nike FC Cup, Alana Jancevski was rested. Playmaker Paige Zois also started on the bench, and Melbourne Victory star Beattie Goad was not in the matchday squad.
Into the Bulleen team this week came Tyja-Jay Vlajnic and Claudia Mihocic continued her return to football. An injury stalled her exceptional season for South Melbourne in 2022, and the defender was forced to sit out the last A-League Women season.
Mihocic’s is a perfect addition to this team. Bulleen are used to having top-class defenders, and she is an ideal player to follow in the footsteps of Kayla Morrison and Rebekah Stott before her.
Southern United are still winless this season, with their best result so far being a 1-1 draw with FV Emerging. This was another stern test for the newly promoted side.
The goals came in either half. Maja Markovski’s flick-on have Vlajnic half a chance, and the winger capitalised on defensive hesitancy to skip free and finish in the 22nd minute.
Bulleen remained in control, but the scoreline was still finely balanced. The Lions introduced Jancevski and Zois into the match to devastating effect.
Jancevski’s talents make a mockery of the XG concept. Her left foot is simultaneously a wand and a sledgehammer. A chance from 30 yards out is just as good as one from the top of the six-yard box.
Her second-half free kick looked simple but unsavable in its execution. It curled around the wall at a low trajectory to double the lead and coupled with a clean sheet, Bulleen are now up to third on the table.
Box Hill United 2-0 Preston Lions
Box Hill United have their second consecutive win, and it was once again the duo of Sofia Sakalis and Mindy Barbieri who were instrumental.
Preston Lions are the latest side to add a big name to their ranks. Perth Glory midfielder Ella Mastrantonio has joined Kaitlin Torpey and Emma Checker from the A-League Women, and her incisive passing will add another threat to the side.
Box Hill United have also added Rosie Curtis and Emily Kos to the line-up in recent weeks, it has coincided with the progression from good performances to convincing wins.
Sakalis opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Kanna Moriya delivered a free kick from deep. It was dummied over by Asuka Doi and Sakalis was able to control it with one magic touch and finish emphatically with her second.
Doi was instrumental in the second goal. After holding up the ball, she played the ball into the path of Curtis who was brought down, and a penalty awarded despite the pleas of the visiting crowd.
Barbieri made no mistake from the spot. The 78th-minute goal gave Box Hill United the cushion they needed to hold off Preston’s attempts at a comeback.
Heidelberg United 3-0 FV Emerging
Stephanie Galea set the tone for Heidelberg United in the 17th minute against the ever-dangerous FV Emerging. The Begers captain has been in excellent form this season and that confidence was on full display for the opening goal.
Galea controlled a long pass with her right foot as it dropped over her shoulder, then finished with the left to complete a swift and direct attack.
Katrina Nikpour added a second to take advantage of hesitancy and confusion in the emerging defence. A slightly overhit cross was hit high into the penalty area and Nikpour attacked the bouncing ball to nod it beyond the keeper who had come out to gather it, just not quite quickly enough.
Nicole Blackett added a third in the second half. Galea and Nikpour were involved once again and after the ball was pulled back to the edge of the box, Blackett struck it with venom into the back of the net.
The win keeps Heidelberg in the top four, and they are improving in every game. Their A-League talent has definitely added plenty to the side, but the form of Galea and Blackett in recent weeks has been as vital as it is impressive.
This was only Emerging’s fourth loss for the season and only the second time they have been held goalless. Their ladder position belies their ability.
This was a convincing win by Heidelberg and a strong response to that chaotic loss to Boroondara Eagles in their last match before the bye.
Calder United 6-2 Bayside United
The league champions put in a ruthless performance against Bayside United in a goal fest out west.
Kiewa Hieda got them off the mark in the 9th minute after nodding in a well-worked corner from close range.
Raquel Derales was then on the board for the first time this season. Ava Groba charged down a ball far from goal as the Bayside goalkeeper rushed out to clear. It fell to Derales who had the composure and technique to fire home from long range.
Bayside hit back before halftime. Kayla Deaver added another to a growing list of spectacular efforts in the 14th minute.
The long ball forward was collected by Julia Budiongo who did well to hold it up and find Deaver in a central area. there was still plenty to do for the striker and she swivelled to curl the ball into the net from 20 yards.
Former Perth RedStar hot shot Larissa Walsh made it 3-1 to Calder in response. Hieda’s long run down the wing was capped off with a perfect cut back and Walsh was able to finish from close range.
Walsh returned the favour for one more second-half goal. Some clever and patient wing play between Montana Matthews and Groba ended up at Walsh’s feet. With her back to goal, she played it to Hieda who sent a rocket into the back of the net to make it 4-1.
Deaver provided another lifeline for Bayside. As Calder tried to play the ball out from the back, the Bayside press was effective enough to spill the ball loose on the left flank. Deaver was in a crossing position but fired a low show to the near post. It was 4-2 and with Deaver in form, Bayside looked ominous.
As they had all game, Calder United responded. Derales outmuscled her defender to hold off a challenge and hit a half volley home from close range.
Groba put the result to bed in the 68th minute. Her pace took her in front of the last defender to attack a cross, and despite the initial effort being blocked, she kept her feet to tuck it home to complete the afternoon’s scoring.
The 6-2 win only takes Calder to seventh on the table, but with Derales and Groba in scoring form and the improving depth they have throughout the rest of the squad, it would be foolish to count them out.
South Melbourne 4-3 Boroondara-Carey Eagles
Attending a Boroondara-Carey game this season guarantees entertainment. Since returning to the league, The Eagles have played In some classics, and goals are inevitable. No team has been able to keep a clean sheet against them, and only Preston have been able to prevent them scoring more than once and that was six weeks ago.
So even though South Melbourne are in form and Bulleen’s Nike FC Cup win showed that The Eagles can have their wings clipped, nothing was certain in this game except that there would be highlights.
Two of the leagues best strikers faced off. Kurea Okino for Boroondara, and Danielle Wise for South. Okino leads the race for the Golden Boot, but it was last season’s winner who was celebrating early.
In the fifth minute, Wise scored her first of the afternoon. Taylah Christensen crossed low into a crowded penalty area and Wise sped past the defenders to tap home from close range in predatory style.
Taylah Christensen doubled the lead minutes later with a terrific solo goal. she cut inside from the left wing and shot off her right foot to give South Melbourne an early boost.
Brianne Reed added a third in the 16th minute and South Melbourne looked to be cruising. But anybody who saw Boroondara’s game against Heidelberg knows that you can’t keep them out forever.
Kristina Hall pulled one back with a close-range free kick before Okino scored from long range with her latest in a growing list of goal-of-the-season contenders. At halftime it was 3-2 to South Melbourne, but The Eagles were taking flight.
Seconds into the second half, Boroondara were level. Emily Sutcliffe worked her way into the area and scored from close range. 46 minutes have been played, and the game was living up to its billing.
As the game went on, both teams slowed down. Leticia Mckenna was introduced for South Melbourne and the chaos subsided as checkers turned to chess. With a midfield of Miesha Westland and McKenna, this seemed to suit South Melbourne, although both sides looked wary of conceding again.
When it finally happened, it came too late for Boroondara to stage another comeback. Caitlin Pickett charged forward in the 89th minute. Her pass dissected the defence, but Mia Mossman was out quick to collect the ball.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, but to the delight of South’s home crowd, the ball bounced off her knee and Wise was charging down the chance to deflect it in.
It was 4-3 to South Melbourne, they have climbed into second on the ladder, and the Victorian NPLW had staged another classic match.
Above: The Junior Matildas, who will be off to Korea Republic next week. Photo: Football Australia.
The Junior Matildas will continue their preparations for the 2024 AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Round Two Qualifiers with a two-match international series against Korea Republic.
The U-17 Australian Women’s National Team will travel to Paju, north of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province for a match on Tuesday 6th June before backing up three days later. Both international friendlies will be played at the Korea Football Association’s National Football Centre.
“Korea Republic are one of the strongest nations in this age group and we are looking forward to challenging ourselves against one of the best in Asia in this series,” Dower said.
“We want to build on the partnership established with Korea Republic, continuing to work together annually to present development opportunities for these players.”
A 22-strong roster for the two-match series has been selected with a majority of the squad featuring in the recent camp at the Australian Institute of Sport earlier this month.
Dower said it was a chance to see how the hard work put in by the players and staff continues to translate.
“These types of matches are vital to continue to build cohesion as a national team. There will be some debutants amongst the group, whilst the bulk has been together now since October. On the back of increased investment and several camps together over the past six months, we aim to maximise the periods when we do come together,” Dower added.
“This series will give us a chance to try some different combinations, present first-time opportunities to new players and to see how the players individually and collectively as a team deal with the travel and complexities of playing in Asia.”
Australia have been drawn into Group B, alongside Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines for the 2024 AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Round Two taking place between 16th and 24th September 2023.
The top two sides from each group will join host nation to join Indonesia, Japan, DPR Korea, and China in the Finals.
Junior Matildas squad for series with Korea Republic: