18/04/2024

Caitlin Foord at Arsenal. (Photo: Arsenal WFC/Twitter)

Aussie players are in demand in many leagues across the world. As club competition commences, The Inner Sanctum highlights 20 Aussie stars to follow overseas.

Aussie players are in demand in many leagues across the world. As club competition commences, The Inner Sanctum highlights 20 local stars to follow overseas.

England

Steph Catley – Arsenal

The Matildas vice-captain is one of the world’s finest fullbacks. Upon signing for Arsenal prior to last season, she was seen as a crucial piece of the team.

Her ability to play as a left-back or central defender was seen as a way to unlock Beth Mead as a pure winger and improve Arsenal defensively.

Unfortunately for both parties, injuries curtailed her season. Catley made only seven league appearances for the Gunners. After a full recovery, she was one of the best players of the Tokyo Olympics and created six scoring chances in the group stage alone.

Catley will be eager to make up for lost time in England. After reminding the world what she can do, Arsenal fans should be very excited.

Kyah Simon – Tottenham Hotspur

Simon’s career has been one of triumph and resurrection. She recovered from injury to dominate with Melbourne City in 2019-20 and earned a contract with PSV Eindhoven.

Things did not go to plan in Holland and after an encouraging start, she was halted by injuries and then contracted COVID twice.

Like Catley, Simon was able to recover for the Olympics where she started every game of the tournament. She was vital to the Matildas attack as a roving creative forward, and put in a perfect assist against Sweden.

At club level, she has been used more as a center forward and that is what Tottenham needs. Spurs recruited American superstar Alex Morgan to spearhead the attack last season, but she only found the net once from a penalty.

Simon could be the player that Tottenham needed Morgan to be. She is a player who has the technique to score from distance and the composure to finish in the box.

Tottenham has signed one of the best Australian players of her generation.

Tameka Yallop – West Ham United

Yallop is another Australian who enhanced her reputation at the Olympics. She scored against New Zealand in the opening game and was a consistent performer despite changing roles constantly.

West Ham was in a relegation battle for most of last season and it will be interesting to see how Yallop is used by the Hammers.

She can play in central midfield, on the wing or as a forward as she did for Brisbane Roar last season.

Mackenzie Arnold – West Ham United

Officially recognized as the FAWSL’s best goalkeeper, Mackenzie Arnold ended her 2020/21 season on a high.

On the final day of the season, Arnold’s two penalty saves against Manchester City made headlines and almost decided the title.

Her club form was expected to transfer into international football, but after a really poor performance against Denmark, she lost her spot in the Australian side.

After her heroics last season, West Ham fans will be unworried by her turn in fortunes. Arnold will be eager to rediscover her best form in London.

Caitlin Foord – Arsenal

Foord was excellent at Arsenal last season. She scored 12 times from 26 appearances and formed an immediate link with Gunners star Vivianne Miedema.

She made herself a fan favorite and is an asset to any coach with her ability to play anywhere across a front three or on a wing.

After the departure of Joe Montemurro, Foord will need to prove herself to a new manager. The coach who brought her to the club moved on to Juventus and was replaced by Jonas Eidevall.

The arrival of Mana Iwabuchi has further increased Arsenal’s scoring capacity, whether she will be competing with Foord or partner her in attack will be of interest to Aussie fans.

Sam Kerr – Chelsea

What can be said that has not already? The Chelsea star was the league’s leading scorer last season with 21 goals in 22 league games.

Already one of the world’s best when she arrived in England, Kerr improved again under the tutelage of Emma Hayes.

In the past, she has been best utilized with counterattacks, long balls, and early crosses. For Chelsea, so often the team others sat back against this was not so easy.

Kerr became a player who used her pace to explode into small pockets of space. She became a smarter, more unpredictable striker at Chelsea and remained as prolific as always.

Kerr is very possibly the best Australian player of her generation. After winning the last two league titles in England, she is adding team success to her long list of accolades.

Her almost telepathic link with Fran Kirby is worth the price of admission alone. The pair had no equal in England last season with 37 goals and 18 assists between them.

To watch them play is to watch the very best at work.

Isobel Dalton – Lewes FC

After seasons with Napoli in Italy and Brisbane Roar in the W-League, Isobel Dalton has signed with Lewes in England’s Championship division.

Dalton is a clever midfielder who created 20 scoring chances in for Brisbane last season and notched up seven assists.

The fan-owned club has signed an accomplished player with her best football still ahead of her.

From Dalton’s perspective, there is an opportunity to find a role in the Matildas midfield that is currently high on quality but lacking in depth.

Lewes and Australia could be the most obvious beneficiaries if Dalton can replicate her W-League form in England.

Japan

Alex Chidiac – JEF United Chiba

After an injury-plagued time in Spain with Athletico Madrid and an individually impressive season with Melbourne City, Alex Chidiac has moved to JEF United in the newly formed WE League in Japan.

Chidiac is a player with unique skills. She can play as a midfielder or forward, is clever with her passing, tenacious in her work rate, and unpredictable when dribbling,

With Melbourne City lacking both a striker and a playmaker, Chidiac was tasked with being both and performed well enough to be included in the Matildas squads for pre-Olympic friendlies.

Although she did not make the final squad, she will be hoping to make an impact in Japan in the new fully professional women’s league and has the talent to do it.

Italy

Ella Mastrantonio – Lazio

Mastrantonio is a classy player. She has a great first touch and is a cultured central midfielder who can control a game with her passing or change it with a well-placed free-kick.

She is one of those players who just always seems to have time on the ball and knows what she needs to do with it.

Her outstanding form for Western Sydney in her last W-League season earned her a move to England with Bristol City.

Bristol faced an uphill battle from day one in the league, and although they fought until the last possible game, they were relegated to the second division.

Mastrantonio performed well enough in the WSL to be called up to the Australian team against The Netherlands for the first time in 13 years.

Her technical quality will help her feel right at home in the rapidly developing Italian top division.

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USA

Amy Sayer – Stanford University

Amy Sayer is another in the long queue of potential Matilda midfield options.

She burst onto the scene with Canberra United and earned her first Matildas call-up in 2018 at the age of 16.

A long-term injury at Sydney FC slowed her progress but no her ambition. A move to the prestigious Stanford Cardinal football program has revitalized her career while earning her an education.

In May, she was recalled to the national team to face Germany and The Netherlands and was named in the US freshman team of the season.

Sayer has an eye for a pass but is also able to win the ball and is not shy to take a shot on goal.

She appears to be thriving in the high-pressure environment of college athletics, and is one of the most watchable of the next generation of Australian players.

(Picture: PAC-12/Twitter)

Spain

Beattie Goad – Tenerife   

Beattie Goad off the bench against Germany earlier this year in a baptism of fire. By the end of that game, she had announced herself as the possible solution to the depth problem of the Matildas defence.

After stints in the W-League, Stanford University, and Germany, Goad has moved to Spain and signed with Tenerife.

In her debut, she looked right at home at international level and it was a surprise that she was not included in the Olympic squad. Goad was composed and comfortable against surges of German attacks.

Australian fans should watch Goad’s career carefully, at just 24-years-old she could be a big part of the next few years.

France

Mary Fowler – Montpellier

The breakout star of the Tokyo Olympics, Mary Fowler has long been touted as an up and comer. Her performances against the USA and Team GB showed that she has already arrived at the age of 18.

Her goal to take the lead in the quarter-final was spectacular in its ambition. It took a deflection to send it past the keeper but the confidence to take on the strike, to try and win the game was what stood out.

She is adept with both feet, anticipates the play and moves well off the ball and is eager to track back and help defend. Her quick turn and magnetic first touch helped to finish the two terrific goals to her name as a Matilda.

Fowler has impressed in France and often appears off the bench but her career is still just beginning. That is a frightening and exciting thought.

https://twitter.com/7olympics/status/1421065984052535296?s=20

Ellie Carpenter – Olympique Lyonnais

When Lyon signed Ellie Carpenter, it was one of the biggest signings in Australian football. Lucy Bronze was departing and the 20-year-old Aussie was chosen to replace the FIFA Player of the Year.

Carpenter has more than lived up to that expectation. After Bronze moved to Manchester City, the 20-year-old Matilda right-back stepped right in and did not miss a beat.

She was was a regular starter and was named the AFC player of the year for 2021.

Carpenter’s pace and crossing has always been apparent but at Lyon, she became a more complete player which was evident in a more tactically complex role at the Olympics.

At full flight, she is spectacular to watch. A fearless attacking fullback and a committed defensive presence, Carpenter’s importance is most notable in her absence.

Her high-octane style of play makes her one of the most entertaining Australians to watch in Europe.

Denmark

The Fortuna Hjørring crew

If you are an Australian fan, Fortuna Hjørring has to be your team in Denmark. The Champions League regular love Australian players and currently has four in their current squad.

Viewers of last season’s W-League will be familiar with Angie Beard and Clare Wheeler. Both were exceptional for Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC respectively as they claimed silverware for their clubs.

Beard captained Victory through every minute of their Grand Final winning season. her tireless running from left-back and creativity in attack was instrumental in their run to glory.

Wheeler was Sydney’s best player in 2020/21. She was the driving force in midfield that propelled the side to first place in the league and was as consistent as she was dangerous.

Indiah-Paige Riley will be in her second year at the club and will be hoping to improve her form and earn another Matildas call-up.

The 19-year-old striker scored a hatrick for Fortuna early on in her first season and earned herself a senior international debut against Germany in May.

Alexandra Huynh completes the quartet. Formerly of Western Sydney and Napoli, she is another defender that Australian fans should keep an eye on as a player who could potentially step up to the national side.

Sweden

Dylan Holmes – BK Häcken

The former Adelaide United captain was so admired by BK Häcken that they paid a transfer fee to the W-League club to secure her services immediately.

Holmes was in career-best form for the Reds in their best-ever season. She was dominant in midfield as they pressed for finals and scored some incredible long-range goals.

She impressed in her first Matildas appearance against The Netherlands and was unlucky not to score. Holmes has the ability to split defences with perfect passes and control the pace of a match.

Teagan Micah – Rosengård

Micah began 2021 as the goalkeeper for Melbourne City as they finished in the bottom three sides. By August, she was the new Matildas first choice, an Olympic semi-finalist and at the biggest club in Sweden.

Rosengård is a regular in the Champions League, boasting several players from the Swedish side that won silver in Tokyo and is the perfect mix of pressure and opportunity for Micah at this stage in her career.

A brilliant shot-stopper and commanding in the air, Australian fans will be hoping her rise continues.

https://twitter.com/7olympics/status/1421065661204373505?s=20

Charlotte Grant – Rosengård

Another Adelaide export and another Aussie at Sweden’s top side. Charlotte Grant has found her opportunities limited since her move to Rosengård, but is a player with enormous potential.

The 19-year-old Grant is a similar player to Ellie Carpenter. She is a lightning-quick full-back who can operate on either side of the field and is dangerous in attack.

Her ability to carry the ball through space and traffic sets her apart from most other players. Her move to Europe was a read for an eye-catching and highlight-filled W-League season.

She may be one of the W-League’s best fullbacks and an Olympic squad member but the best is still yet to come from Grant.

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