More NWSL Players Coming To England, Is It A Good Thing?


This season we have seen a lot of players coming over to the FAWSL from the NWSL. It all started towards the end of last season really with the Australians Kerr, Raso and Foord joining Chelsea, Everton & Arsenal but since the return for the new season there has been a whole lot more names added to the list. 

Obviously the FAWSL season ended in a way no one could have predicted with the coronavirus cancelling the league but that was towards the end of the season anyway, not like with the NWSL which was due to start just as the whole pandemic situation really began to escalate. We saw the Euro’s postponed and pushed back a year and the same happened with the Olympics. I guess when you think about it the NWSL players had to find somewhere quick to get game time to try secure places on their International teams for those tournaments and with no news on what was happening over in the NWSL a lot of them have opted to join the English top flight. It is funny how things panned out really as not long after the first round of players signed for English clubs the NWSL announced the Spring series but we didn’t see some of the big names star in it. Then they announced the Fall series but players still kept signing for the WSL teams. 

It is great to see some of the biggest names from the World Cup winning USWNT here in the UK and it is only going to held boost the ratings for the league with more American fans tuning in to see how some of their favourite players are doing. I think it is what the league has needed for a while, we saw attention pick up when Dunn, O’Reilly & Lloyd all joined a few years ago but since then it has been a case of the USWNT sticking to the NWSL or going elsewhere in Europe. The FAWSL is an exciting & competitive league though and with play time needed for the big tournaments coming up I think a lot of players will have been encouraged to join due to that factor and that they would be challenging and pushing themselves each week to earn a place on that team sheet.

We have already seen the sort of impact the signings are having off the pitch, commentators can’t stop talking about Morgan, Lavelle & Mewis and it even made the main news a few times here in the UK so more people were made aware of the league. It was also recently announced that sales of the Manchester United shirt with Heath & Press on the back outsold every other Manchester United player sales since they were announced which when you think about it is pretty unbelievable. Who would have thought that even though the United men’s team aren’t doing well at the moment that Heath & Press would out sell the likes of Fernandes, Rashford, Martial and De Gea? I know I definitely wouldn’t have predicted this.

Another positive for all these stars coming to the league is that the players who have held starting places on team sheets for years are now getting that challenging that has been needed for a while. The league has always been filled with great English talent but now that talent has to fight against some fantastic international players to get in that first 11. This will hopefully make the England national team a bit stronger in the long run as it means the English layers who just had a walk on spot for their club team will have to fight for it now, so we should see an increase in their fitness and playing levels to help them get on the sheet again. Take Jill Scott for example she was always one of the first names you would see when she wasn’t carrying an injury but now Mewis is getting that starting spot and Scott is sat on the bench. But knowing the kind of player Jill is she will push herself to earn that spot back and keep under the England management’s radar. Whilst this is a positive it can also be a bit of a negative because if players are genuinely picked due to their name and to bring attention to the club then the English players who have been at that club for a long time might end up losing valuable playtime and their chances of possibly some of their last tournaments passing them by. No one wants to see a players work so hard their whole career and for it to end in a way like this so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen to anyone. 

Another thing that could possibly happen is those youngsters who were just breaking through into the first teams may end up being pushed back and be left feeling frustrated with the lack of game time they are receiving. A lot of young players were just starting to come into some of the big injury hit teams and were starting to make a bit of a name for themselves and get on the international radar, so you can only imagine how they would be left feeling if all those first team call ups were just stopped due to a player who might not be around for a long time. It could end up effecting players fitness too, if a player is used to playing 70+ minutes each week is then left to sit on the bench who knows what long term effect it could have on their fitness levels if it is something that happens over and over again. 

With that being said some players such as Alex Morgan and Rachel Daly are only here until December so what if a team goes to build itself around a player such as Alex Morgan and there is no extension at the end of the initial loan? Will we just see teams decline in a quick period of time? I really hope teams aren't relying on the NWSL players too much as there is so much potential in the UK as it is so others should get a chance to show of their skill too. Who knows that striker Spurs keep on the bench to give Morgan game time may just end up out performing her. 

With an influx of talent coming over to the UK those who haven't really followed the NWSL previously might not know some of the big names that have come over the FAWSL so here are the ones I think you should be keeping an eye on. 

Alessia Russo - A big name for such a young talent. Russo hasn't actually played in the NWSL but she did opt to come to the FAWSL instead of beginning her pro career in the NWSL. Russo was a well sort after player in terms of international teams was she going to play for England or the USWNT ? Well it seems like she has picked England and is definitely a name to watch for the future. I can see her doing really well at Manchester United.

Hayley Raso - Even a broken back couldn't stop this Australian from losing her playing ability, in fact I think since she has returned from that major injury she has just got better and better. Everton have definitely got a great player on their hands who is more than capable of scoring plenty of goals for them. 

Sam Mewis - The midfielder can tower over the opposition and is lethal with the ball at her feet as she can shoot and score from distance as we saw plenty of times when she was in the NWSL. Not only can Mewis score but she is also a playmaker, her distribution from midfield is absolutely brilliant and she creates some great opportunities for her team mates.

Tobin Heath - For anyone who hasn't properly seen Heath play yet, well you are in for a treat. Heath's skill levels are unbelievable from nutmegs to rainbow flicks she has it all. But Heath doesn't off throughout the games she just does it to get out of situations what is amazing though is her crosses. She can pick out players from anywhere and help create plenty of chances, given a chance herself though she is no stranger to finding the back of the net. 

Jessie Fleming - The young Canadian is straight from college to the FAWSL to represent Chelsea. Fleming is a player who I have watched closely when she has played for Canada as even though she is still a young age she has plenty of potential. She can move easily around the midfield, win challenges and get her team in dangerous positions, she is certainly a player to keep your eye on in the future. 

Christen Press - Christen has often been over looked by the USWNT but we saw just how good she was when she came up against England in the World Cup semi finals. Able to get herself in plenty of space to find the back of the net and plenty of pace when she is on the attack. I really do think that the FAWSL can really bring the best out of Press.

So here are the list of players who have made the jump to the FAWSL recently. I am sure there will be some I have missed as there were just so many to keep up with, but if there is a name missing let me know and I will add it in...

Sam Kerr

Caitlin Foord 

Rose Lavelle

Sam Mewis

Steph Catley

Lydia Williams  

Jess Fishlock

Hayley Raso

Mackenzie Arnold 

Jessie Fleming

Chloe Logarzo 

Alanna Kennedy

Shelina Zardosky

Rachel Daly 

Alex Morgan 

Denise O'Sullivan

Tobin Heath

Christen Press 

Rachel Corsie

Alessia Russo

Emily Van Egmond 

Claire Emslie

So there you have it those are the players that have left the NWSL for now to come and give the FAWSL a go. Do you think this will benefit the league or do you think other players may suffer? 

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