It’s been another busy week in Women’s football, transfers, stadium moves and new contracts it’s been all action. Josh Bunting takes us through the last seven days.
Everton Complete Deal For French International
Everton Women have completed the signing of French striker Valerie Gauvin from Montpellier.
She becomes Willie Kirk’s fifth summer signing and will replace Chloe Kelly who departed for Manchester City earlier this summer. The 24-year-old forward has been capped 31 times by France and she netted 14 goals in 16 appearances for top-flight Montpellier in the curtailed 2019/20 domestic campaign.
The striker spent six years with Montpellier after joining aged 18 from Toulouse, where she graduated from the club’s youth team.
Kirk who led the Blues to a sixth placed finish last season told the club website “Signing Valerie is a real coup for the Club and a sign of our ambition.”
“For me, she is already one of the top strikers in Europe and taking into account her age and mindset, she will continue to get even better, and I’m delighted to be part of that future development.”
“She is going to add a focal point to our attack and will be an important part of what is now a very exciting squad that we have put together.”
“Sarvar (Ismailov, Everton Women Sporting Director) has worked tirelessly to get this deal done, and it shows his commitment and ambition to the Club with what we want to achieve here.”
Jodie Taylor Joins Lyon On Loan
Jodie Taylor has joined European Champions Lyon on a loan deal until December 31st.
The striker who started her career at Tranmere Rovers will be eligible to play for the French champions in the UEFA Women’s Champions League later this month in Spain. She finished as the top goalscorer at Euro 2017 scoring five goals as the Lionesses reached the semi-final of the tournament before losing out to eventual winners the Netherlands.
Taylor joins from American side OL Reign who have a partnership with the French side. The striker has also had spells in Australia with Melbourne Victory and City and Sweden.
The 34 year-old scored five goals in 16 appearances for the club in 2019. Reign FC made the NWSL playoffs as the fourth seed before losing to eventual champions North Carolina Courage.
She has also previously had a spell at Arsenal who she could come up against in the champions league semi-final should Lyon beat Bayern Munich and the Gunners get past Paris Saint-Germain.
Her first international goals came in the shape of a hat-trick against Australia, on just her fifth appearance, at the 2015 Cyprus Cup.
Speaking about signing for Lyon Taylor said “I’m very happy to join OL and can’t wait to play with my new team. I just finished my season with OL Reign in the United States but I kind of stay in the same family”
“I spoke a lot with my English teammates like Lucy Bronze who has been at the club for a long time, and I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to play for one of the best teams in the world. “
Taylor could make her debut for the club this weekend as Lyon take on Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe De France final.
Guro Reiten Signs New Chelsea Deal
Chelsea attacking midfielder Guro Reiten has signed an extended contract with the club until 2023. The 26-year-old Norway international scored seven times in 23 appearances in her first season with the Blues, after arriving last summer.
“My first season was amazing and I don’t think there is a better place to be right now than this club,” she told Chelsea’s website. I’m very happy here and the club have showed that they want me here.”
Chelsea won the Women’s Super League last term, as well as the Continental League Cup, and will begin the defence of their title on the weekend of 5-6 September.
General manager Paul Green added: “We wanted to reward Guro for an excellent debut season and we’re delighted that she has extended her contract.
“Guro brought great value to the team upon her arrival and quickly became a very important player in the team’s success last season.”
Leah Williamson Joins FA’s Diversity Code
Arsenal defender Leah Williamson has joined the FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code, which aims to accelerate diversity in positions of power.
The Football Association plan to launch their voluntary diversity code in October to coincide with Black History Month. Invented by Paul Elliott, the chair of the body’s inclusion advisory board, the objective is to make boardrooms and technical areas more representative of the game, which black footballers like Raheem Sterling have highlighted as paramount.
The 23 year old defender has joined England Captain Harry Kane and Premier League winning captain Jordan Henderson on the panel.
Troy Deeney (chair of the players’ panel), Tyrone Mings, Wes Morgan and Williamson’s International teammates Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris will provide guidance for the code, which is due to launch in October.
FA chairman Greg Clarke said when commenting on the new project “We all share the same desire to see English football take a lead role in ensuring our game is inclusive – most notably in leadership positions in football. The FA, Premier League and EFL are all committed to making further significant progress on diversity and inclusion.
“Following high-level talks between all parties today, I recognise now that the views held by the members of the board were not as they first appeared, and that all parties do support a review of FA Board diversity.”
Rangers Sign Lizzie Arnot
Rangers have completed the signing of Scotland International Lizzie Arnot from Manchester United.
The Gers announced the signing on Friday morning ahead of the new Scottish Women’s Premiership campaign that will restart in October. Arnot made 34 appearances during her Manchester United career, scoring 9 goals, including the club’s first ever competitive goal in a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Continental Cup in August 2018.
The 24-year-old has also featured for Hibernian and has made 32 appearances for the Scotland senior side. On signing for the Glasgow giants Arnot said “I’m really excited and it is such an exciting time to be a part of the club. You look at the investment they are putting in, and it is great for the women’s game and to be a part of a professional club in Scotland is great.
“The journey they areplanning to go in is really exciting. I have a few friends in the team, and I have been hearing from them how much they have been enjoying it.
“When I found out it could be an option, I was really excited by it and thought it would be nice to return to Scotland and be part of what is a really big project.”
Women’s and Girls football manager, Amy McDonald added “We are thrilled to be bringing a player of the quality of Lizzie Arnot to the football club.
“This really underlines our commitment to be the best women’s football team in Scotland, and adding a player like Lizzie with her international and WSL experience will help us to reach our goal at an earlier opportunity.”
Rachel Newborough Pens New Charlton Athletic Deal
Northern Ireland International Rachel Newborough has re-signed with Charlton Athletic for the 2020/21 season.
The 23 year old has been a key part in Kenny Shiels set-up so far and was runner up in the Charlton Athletic player of the year awards. She joined the club from Boston College and was a crucial part in the Addicks side who play in the FA Women’s Championship.
Newbourogh started her career at Reading before moving to Leeds to study at University therefore signing for Doncaster Belles. She first got called up to the national team at 16 years old playing in the under 19’s European Championship and World Cup.
At 23 she has over 20 caps for her country after making her debut on June 7 2016 against the Czech Republic. She also played a vital part in the 3-1 win away to Slovakia as she provided her first assist for her country as she crossed for Rachel Furness to score.
Speaking to the club website on her new deal the defender said “I am delighted to return to the club for a second season. We learnt a lot from last year and it feels like we have unfinished business. It’s a great team to be a part of, and I can’t wait to get back on the pitch.”
Charlton Athletic will find out their opening fixtures for the new championship season next Friday as the new season is planned to kick off on September 5.
Louise Quinn Wins Republic of Ireland Player of the Year
Former Arsenal defender Louise Quinn has been named the Republic of Ireland senior women’s player of the year.
It’s the second time that the 79-times capped defender has won the award, edging out Arsenal’s Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan in the vote. “It’s just incredible,” the defender told FAI TV. “I’m really, really surprised to get that. I think we’ve had such an incredible year with such changes and the players coming up and stepping up to the plate, so to get the award is something truly special.”
“Just to wear the jersey is something that I love to do every time that we get to step onto that pitch. I’m extremely proud of it”.
“Then there is the likes of Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan, I’m their biggest fan so for them not to win is a travesty as well. But I’m thrilled, even though it’s always a team effort.”
Quinn recently made a move to Fiorentina after her contract at Arsenal expired. The defender made a total of 76 appearances and scored seven goals for the Gunners, including the winner in the 2018 FA Cup semi-final against Everton.
During the WSL title-winning season, Quinn played 19 of the 20 league games and had the second best pass accuracy from any outfield player who had played 90 minutes.
She added on her move to Florence “The team have been really, really welcoming, it’s such an open club and they have big aspirations.
“They were the first club to try and go professional in Italy, knowing that they have those goals, it was spot on for me to come here then.”
Under the management of Vera Pauw, the Republic of Ireland are unbeaten in qualifying for the 2021 Women’s European Championships. They currently sit top of Group I, one point ahead of Germany with three games to play. Ireland’s three remaining games are home and away to Germany and away to Ukraine
“This squad is prepared to do whatever it takes to get to our Euros,” she added. “Vera coming in has really steadied the ship. We have a really good understanding of each other, she’s taken on the qualities that we have and has simplified it and laid it out straight, and is making the international game easier for us.
“The experience she has with international teams is incredible so she knows what way to approach things. We have full trust in her with what she is doing with us and having Eileen (Gleeson, Assistant Coach) there as well to back her up is brilliant, and Jan Willem (van Ede, Goalkeeping Coach).
“We know that there is still massive room for improvement. In games, we’re definitely creating more chances but now is the time to start putting them away quicker. It’s now about being clinical with those really good chances that we are creating.
“It’s just building on that and tidying things up defensively. We had a really good game against Ukraine and yes Germany is daunting but we have to take it in our stride. We’ve put ourselves in the best position and it feels great, so we want to keep that feeling going.”
Crystal Palace Sign Coral-Jade Haines
Crystal Palace Women have completed the signing of Coral-Jade Haines from Women’s Super League side Tottenham Hotspur.
She becomes the second signing from north London this summer as goalkeeper Chloe Morgan has also linked up with Dean Davenport’s side. Haines can play either as a midfielder or as a striker and has played senior football since the age of 16 after making her debut for Birmingham City.
During her time at the Blues she was part of the squad that reached the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals. Last season at Tottenham she found game-time hard to come by playing just three Women’s Super League games starting two of those.
Haines has represented England at under 19 level . She made her debut for the team in October 2013 during a match against Norway.
Haines said: “The club has the drive and tools to do well in the Championship this year. “The coaches have implemented a learning environment – their attention to the technical detail is the best I have experienced for a long time. I’ve learnt a few things already and I can’t wait to add more to my game and hopefully help the club have a successful year.”
At just 24, it is remarkable the amount of experience Coral-Jade already has and arriving with Champions League appearances under her belt will inspire the squad with similar aspirations.
“The early signs in training are good; she has slotted in well. Her versatility in midfield and up top will be hugely beneficial to us.”
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Charly Clifford Commits to Charlton
Charley Clifford has committed her future to Charlton Athletic by extending her stay in south London ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Clifford is a product of the Addicks centre of excellence and has gone on to make 265 appearances for the club and is just seven games away from equalling the all-time record for most appearances for Charlton Athletic Women, currently held by first team coach Kim Dixson.
She follows Rachel Newborough, Alice Griffiths, Lilli Maple and Grace Coombs in extending her stay at Oakwood. Former England under 19 international Clifford said when signing her new deal “We have something to prove this season so I’m looking forward to the challenge!”
Last season, Clifford made 10 appearances for The Addicks in the FA Women’s Championship and went on to score four goals. The 2020/21 Championship season is set to begin on September 5 with Charlton set to discover their first two opponents when the fixtures are released this coming Friday (August 7).
Ellie Dorey Extends Stay At Charlton
Charlton Athletic Women have announced that Ellie Dorey has re-signed for the 2020/21 season.
The forward has 25 Addicks appearances to her name to date. The 24 year old signed from Women’s Super League side Brighton and Hove Albion and has impressed the Addicks fans since south London.
Dorey appeared in 11 of The Addicks’ 12 fixtures in the Championship netting her only goal in the 2-2 draw at Sheffield United. She also featured for Riteesh Mishra’s side in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup and Women’s FA Cup.
Dorey followed Rachel Newborough and Charley Clifford in extending her stay at the club over the weekend. “I’m happy to be staying with a club that’s looked after me through injury and illness. I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and put the hard work into play, it’s felt like a lifetime.”
Lily Stevens Makes Oxford Move
Lily Stevens has left Crystal Palace Women to sign for Oxford United ahead of the new 2020/21 campaign. The 21 year becomes the Yellows 14th summer signing as U’s boss Liam Gilbert assembles a new squad.
Stevens started her career with Reading before moving to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2019. The defender has represented Wales at various youth levels from Under 16’s to Under 19’s.
The versatile Stevens who can either play in defence or midfield spent the second half of last season on loan at AFC Wimbledon before the coronavirus pandemic ended the season.
Speaking on signing for Oxford United she said “I think after speaking to the manager we instantly got on really well and I really liked his values and where he wants to take the football club moving forwards. It took just one conversation to sort everything and convince me. I’ve been into a couple of sessions and I’ve met all of the girls, and it moved pretty quickly from there.”
“I think the main aim for everyone at the club is to get promotion and win the league, so I’m really looking forward to that challenge.”
“I like being on the ball, I like passing the ball. I’d say that I’ve got quite good vision, so I like looking for passes and trying to link up the defence to the attack. I’ve previously played with a couple of the players here already. I know Daisy [McLachlan]; I grew up playing with her at Reading, so it will be good to play with some of them again.”
Stevens then went on to add how she was keeping fit during the Lockdown period as she said “I’ve had a lot of programmes to do physically, so that hasn’t been a problem, but mentally I’ve just communicating and speaking to loads of the girls and my friends who are in the same situation, staying motivated and waiting for it all to get back to normal.
“I just want to play and enjoy my football, hopefully help the team in securing promotion and winning the league.”
Matilde Fidalgo Leaves Manchester City
Manchester City Women have confirmed that defender Matilde Fidalgo has left the club and signed for SL Benfica. A senior Portuguese international since 2013, Fidalgo joined City in May 2019 from SC Braga and made five appearances in all competitions.
The right back had earlier spent eight years at CF Benfica and had a spell with Sporting CP. The 26-year-old now returns to her homeland ahead of the new season.
Netherlands Scheme To Allow Women To Play In Senior Men’s Team
A new pilot scheme that will allow amateur women to play in a senior men’s team in the Netherlands has been approved by the Dutch Football Association.
The KNVB has given permission for one woman – 19-year-old Elle Fokkema – to join fourth-tier VV Foarut for the 2020-21 season. The pilot could lead to regulations amended permanently to allow more women to play ‘category A’ men’s football.
“The KNVB stands for diversity and equality,” the organisation’s head of development Art Langeler said. “We believe that there should be room for everyone in every way in football.”
In a statement, Langeler confirmed the KNVB receives a request from an association “every year” to allow women to play in a first men’s team.
“In these cases there is a nice sporting challenge that we do not want to block,” Langeler added. “That is why we are starting this pilot. Experience will tell if and how it works and based on that, we could apply a change of regulation.”
Mixed football in the Netherlands was introduced in 1986 and the current rules allow girls to play in those teams up to under-19 level. VV Foarut play in the ‘category A’ fourth tier of Dutch football meaning Fokkema would have been left ineligible for the first team and forced to play in a ‘category B’ team after reaching the age limit.
“I was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to play with them in a team next year,” Fokkema said. “From the KNVB I was always advised to continue playing with the boys for as long as possible, so why shouldn’t it be possible?
“It is quite a challenge, but that only excites me more. I dare not say how it will go, but I am very happy anyway that I can participate in this pilot.”
Bristol City To move Into New Home
Bristol City Women will play their home games primarily at Bath City’s Twerton Park next season, plus some matches at Ashton Gate.
The move sees the Women’s Super League side leave their previous home of Stoke Gifford Stadium in north Bristol. With a capacity of 3,528 – including 1,006 seats – Twerton Park is 15 miles away but has larger terraces than Stoke Gifford’s removable, temporary seating.
The Robins finished 10th of 12 teams in England’s top division last season. A club statement said: “The switch in home venue enables attendances to increase further and, subject to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, present even more supporters with the exciting opportunity to watch the Robins squad, which is filled with internationals and exciting young talent from across the world.
“The move to Twerton Park will provide supporters with upgraded facilities creating a better matchday experience with more food and drink options, better transport links, as well as greater seating access.”
Article by Josh Bunting – @Buntingfootball