On the week that the Women’s Super league season was ended with immediate effect, Josh Bunting takes a look back at the last 7 days in Women’s football.
Women’s Super League Season Ended With Immediate Effect.
The 2019/20 Women’s Super League has been brought to an end with immediate effect.
The FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board has confirmed the decision to end the 2019/20 season for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship, with immediate effect.
An FA Statement read on Monday afternoon “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board has been in regular consultation with clubs and key stakeholders from across both leagues to identify the most suitable and appropriate way to conclude the 2019-20 season, and to give clubs and players the clarity and support they need at this time.
Following overwhelming feedback from the clubs, the decision to bring an end to the 2019-20 season was made in the best interest of the women’s game. This will also enable clubs, the FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board and the FA to plan, prepare and focus on next season when football returns for the 2020-21 campaign.
Supporting the welfare of the clubs and players will continue to be our primary concern throughout this process, which also involved a robust and thorough examination of the logistical, operational, and financial challenges that the game currently faces.
Following full and thorough consultation with the clubs, the FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Board has discussed various recommendations that will be sent to the FA Board to determine the most appropriate sporting outcome for the 2019-20 season.
This will include identifying the entries for the 2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League, which would be based on sporting merit from the 2019-20 Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.
The outcome of the WSL title, plus promotion and relegation issues, is still to be decided.
When football was suspended Manchester City were top of the table as Chelsea was just one point behind the Cityzens in second with a game in hand.
Liverpool was bottom of the table with 6 points a point behind Birmingham City in 11th
The 2019/20 campaigns in tiers three to seven of the English women’s game were formally declared null and void on 9 April.
Monday’s joint league’s board meeting came after a formal consultation process with clubs last week. The FA wrote to clubs on Wednesday to seek their formal views on whether to end the season and how to do so.
Manchester City Appoints Gareth Taylor As New Head Coach.
Manchester City Women have appointed Gareth Taylor as their new head coach on a three-year deal.
Taylor has been in charge of the Manchester City Under 18’s for the past three seasons and succeeds Nick Cushing at the helm.
Taylor was also a player at Manchester City as he featured 55 times for City between 1998 and 2001, including the Club’s famous Division Two Play-Off Final win over Gillingham in 1999.
Speaking to the Manchester City website he said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have joined Manchester City Women and I’m extremely excited about the challenge ahead with a very talented group of players and staff who have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years.
“I’m really honoured to have been appointed to this role and I can’t wait to get started with our preparations for another thrilling and competitive Barclays FA WSL season in 2020/21.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some great people within Manchester City and the Club’s Academy so far, but I’m absolutely relishing my new role within City Football Group and I’ll be giving everything I have to continue Manchester City’s success and growth in the women’s game.”
Manchester City were top of the Women’s Super League when the season was finished due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Chelsea were just a point behind and had a game in hand over the Cityzens.
Head of Women’s Football Gavin Makel added: “I am delighted to welcome Gareth into the role of Manchester City Women’s Head Coach.
“Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to see first-hand the qualities that Gareth possesses. Not only in terms of his abilities as a coach who develops individuals, but also in the way that he leads, whilst exuberating the values and ethos that we hold dear as a Club.
“I am looking forward to working with Gareth as we enter this new era for the women’s team in which I am confident that we can continue to build upon the successes that we have had over the last six years.
“I would also like to add my thanks to Alan Mahon who stepped up in light of Nick’s departure and who continues to be an integral part of our operation.
Taylor will start his new role immediately and will be assisted by Mahon.
AFC Fylde Reverse Decision To Disband Women’s Team.
AFC Fylde have reversed their decision to disband their Women’s team.
Four weeks ago, the club announced it was disbanding their Women’s team due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Fylde will carry on next season in the third tier – the National League Northern Premier Division.
In an interview with the club website, Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite said: “It’s fantastic news and something I’m delighted about.
“Right from the very beginning when I started to try to build a Fylde brand, it’s always been my aim to make it more than just men’s football here.”
As part of the restructure, assistant manager Kim Turner will step up to manage the team alongside club captain Danielle Young, who will become player-co-manager.
Former boss Conrad Prendergast will move away from the women’s side to work with AFC Fylde’s academy.
Turner told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The club got a lot of media attention, which was great for us. The one thing we really wanted was just to a conversation to see how we could make it work instead of just getting rid of it, and they were willing to listen.
“It’s been the craziest three weeks within a crazy time that’s going on anyway, and the fact we’ve got this turned round and the girls can stay together means so much.
The women’s team will play their home games at coronation Road, Kirkham of AFC Fylde.
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk Leaves Liverpool.
Liverpool have announced that striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk will leave the club at the end of her current contract at the end of the season.
The striker joined the Reds from Everton in 2018 and scored 14 goals in total during her spell with the club.
Vicky Jepson told the clubs official website “I’d like to thank Courtney for her last two years at the club.
“Myself and all the backroom staff would like to wish her the very best of luck with the challenges ahead.”
Sweetman-Kirk has also played for Leicester, Coventry, Lincoln Ladies and Doncaster Rovers Belles and also represented England at under 23 level.
She helped Great Britain win the 2013 World University Games in Russia scoring five goals in the tournament including a hat-trick against Ireland.
She was also named the FA WSL 2 Players Player of the Year in 2015 and was the Spring Series top goal scorer for the WSL 2 also in the same year.
She announced the move on her social media channels saying ““I appreciate all the support I’ve been given, especially from the fans but it’s time for a change and a new environment that challenges me as a player and as a person.”
Everton Trio To Leave Club.
Everton has announced that Hannah Cain is leaving the club after two years at the club.
A statement on the Everton website read “Hannah Cain has left Everton Women after the Club opted not to renew her contract”.
Everton Football Club thanks Hannah for her service and wishes her the very best of luck for the future
The 21-year-old forward signed her first full-time professional contract with Everton in July 2018, having previously played with Sheffield United and Sheffield FC Ladies.
Cain announced her departure on social media as she said “It was a pleasure being a blue while it lasted – leaving with great memories. Thanks to the fans for the love and support you’ve shown me over the last 2 years”.
She made 18 appearances for the Toffees in all competitions in 2019-20 and scored once in the 5-0 FA Cup victory at Bristol City.
Cain scored her first goal for the Blues against Reading in November 2018 and also netted a dramatic late winner against West Ham in the same season.
Goalkeeper Kirstie Levell has left after her contract expired.
Having progressed through the youth ranks at Everton, goalkeeper Levell made her first-team debut in 2015.
She went on to establish herself as a regular starter and was a key figure in the side that won the Spring Series competition in 2017, earning Everton promotion to the top flight of English football.
Levell helped the Blues reach the FA Cup semi-finals in 2018 and continued to be an important squad member as part of talented group of Everton goalkeepers.
Defender Taylor Hinds is the third player leaving the club after her contract also expired, Hinds joined Everton from Arsenal in January 2018 and was part of the Blues squad which reached the FA Cup semi-finals that year.
Reading Women To Play At Madejski Stadium
Reading Women are moving to the Madejski Stadium for the 2020-21 season ground sharing with their men’s side.
The Royals currently play their home fixtures at Adams Park home of Wycombe Wanderers.
Speaking to BBC Sport manager Kelly Chambers said “We have always wanted to be in Reading and the plan for next season is we will be there”.
The move would make the club the only side in the Women’s Super League to play their home matches at the same stadium as the men’s team.
We’ve played there a few times this season and in previous ones and it will be a great way to build the fanbase,” she added to BBC South Today.
It’s a really accessible ground and I think we’d get really good support there”.
The Royals were 5th when the season was ended on Monday.
NWSL Announces Challenge Cup.
The National Women’s Soccer League have announced that the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret will mark the return to action for all nine clubs. The 25-game tournament will kick off on June 27, 2020 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.
This tournament marks the league’s first competition since the 2019 NWSL Championship which saw the North Carolina Courage defeat the Chicago Red Stars to become back-to-back NWSL Champions.
The format of the tournament will feature the league’s nine clubs each playing four games in the preliminary rounds to determine seeding. The top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals, when the tournament becomes a knockout competition. The semi-finals and Final will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Utah.
Steph Catley To Leave OL Reign
Australian international defender Steph Catley has announced that she is leaving parent club OL Reign.
Catley released a statement on her social media channels saying “It is with a heavy heart that today I announce my departure from OL Reign. In saying that, my heart is full from the memories I have made over the past 2-3 years in Seattle and Tacoma. I am beyond thankful for the entire organization, but in particular Bill and Teresa Predmore who have cared for and molded the club into the family that it is today,” said Catley. “Every day I spent as an OL Reign player, I felt supported and cared for as a footballer but more importantly as a person. Most significantly, I will never forget the support that the club showed me when I went through the toughest period of my life in 2018 with the passing of my father. They stood by me through every step with patience and understanding, and made returning to America feel like I was coming home to a second family. I’ve been challenged and grown as a player and a person, I’ve had fun, and made memories and lifelong friendships that I will always cherish”.
Catley started and played 33 matches for OL Reign, including both the 2018 and 2019 NWSL semi-final finals. She also recorded five assists in 2,949 minutes of play across all competitions.
The full-back is a reported target for Arsenal Women who with Joe Montemurro at the helm and January signing Caitlin Foord have an Australian connection at the club.
Catley continued, “As an athlete you’re always trying to push yourself to be better. I’ve been in the NWSL for the past seven years and the league has made me the player I am today. However, I believe now is the right time to move onto the next chapter and challenge myself in a different environment. No matter where I am or who I’m playing for, I will always be OL Reign’s biggest supporter.”
“It is difficult to see Steph depart, given all she has meant to this club over the past two seasons. She is a fantastic talent and individual,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore. “While we are all disappointed to see her go, we understand and are supportive of her move. Should the opportunity ever arise, we would gladly welcome her back to the club in the future.”
Catley, spoke to the Herald Sun back in January acknowledged that she was looking for a move to European football, saying, “I’ll more than likely be in Europe the next transfer window. I haven’t signed anything, just been talking. England’s where I’m looking.”
Houston Dash sign Brianna Visalli
Visalli joins Houston after spending two seasons in England’s FA Women’s Super League, most recently for Birmingham City she made 5 appearances before the season was ended , The midfielder has represented the United States at the youth international level, having earned three international call-ups with the U.S. Women’s Under-23 team in 2018.
She also featured for West Ham United during her time in the Women’s Super League.
BBC Alba To Show Live Bundeliga Frauen
BBC Alba have announced they will be showing live Bundesliga Frauen matches starting from this weekend.
The station’s Director of Multiplatform Content, Iseabail Mactaggart, said: ”We’re delighted to bring coverage of one of the strongest women’s leagues in Europe to BBC ALBA audiences.
“We’re huge supporters of the growth of Scottish women’s football and in showcasing the FlyerAlarm Frauen-Bundesliga we’re providing high quality, live sports coverage at a time we know audiences need it, and demonstrating what is possible in women’s football.
All of the matches scheduled feature one of the top 3 teams in the league Wolfsburg, Bayern, and Hoffenheim.
All three clubs are still challenging the title and Champions League qualification.
BBC Alba have previously shown Scottish Womens Premiership action and followed Glasgow City throughout the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2019/20 before Covid-19 suspended the season.
FC Bayern Munich face TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the first live broadcast game on Saturday at 12pm.
The full live broadcast list is as follows.
Saturday 30th May – FC Bayern Munich v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 1200
Friday 5th June – TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1815
Saturday 13th June – SGS Essen v VfL Wolfsburg, 1200
Sunday 14th June – FC Bayern Munich v FF USV Jena, 1300
Wednesday 17th June – VfL Wolfsburg v SC Freiburg 1300
There may be more games depending on results as the season comes to a close
Article by Josh Bunting [email protected]