13/04/2024

Kyra Cooney Cross And Sam Kerr are ready set the WSL alight this season. (Images: Arsenal and Chelsea/X)

Four Australians departed the FA Women’s Super League during the off-season as Emily Gielnik, Kiah Simon and Lydia Williams all returned home to Australia to play in the A-League Women while Hayley Raso secured a dream move to European giants Real Madrid.

However, four new Australians have joined the league in recent months as a mix of established Matildas and rising stars look to take the next big step in their careers.

Here is the breakdown of all 13 Australians playing in the English top flight for season 2023/24.

Arsenal

Steph Catley

The Matildas vice-captain and left-back stalwart returns for her fourth season in North London. The 29-year-old has gone from strength to strength since signing for the club in 2020 and was one of head coach Jonas Eidevall’s most trusted players last season as Arsenal finished third.

The versatile defender can operate as a natural left-back in a traditional back four or further up the pitch as a wing-back where she was deployed at times for the Gunners last season.

Following a terrific World Cup campaign, the defender will look to carry that form into the season as a reinvigorated Arsenal side look to push for the title once more.

Kyra Cooney-Cross

A fortnight ago, on transfer deadline day, Arsenal made the shock swoop for the highly coveted talents of Cooney-Cross, who signed from Swedish side Hammarby.

After a stellar season that saw Hammarby crowned champions of the Damallsvenskan, the 22-year-old well and truly announced herself on the international stage at the World Cup.

The young midfielder’s ability to burst through the centre of the park, coupled with an exceptional range of passing caught the eye of plenty of teams across Europe.

Cooney-Cross’ arrival bolsters an already talented midfield group for the Gunners, consisting of players who will help her take her game to the next level.

Caitlin Foord

The crafty forward returns for her fourth season in North London after a strong World Cup campaign that saw her shine in the absence of Sam Kerr. Signing six months before Catley in 2020, Foord has been a picture of consistency at club level over the past three seasons.

Able to operate off either wing or up front, the 28-year-old has 20 goals and 14 assists in her 56 league appearances for the Gunners. Foord will be part of a stacked Arsenal forward line alongside the likes of Vivienne Miedema, Beth Mead, Stina Blackstenius, and Alessia Russo.

Defences around WSL will have their hands full attempting to contain the firepower at the Gunners’ disposal this season.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Charlie Rule

Fresh off the back of winning the domestic double with Sydney FC, Charlie Rule was signed by Brighton in July on a three-year deal. The 20-year-old is a tall defender built for the modern era, with the ability to drive into midfield from the back.

Her eye for a pass and willingness to play progressive passes is sure to catch the eye of the Seagulls this year. However, the youngster’s defending will be put to the test this season as Brighton looks to improve on its league-worst defensive record from the 2022/23 campaign.

Mackenzie Hawkesby

Four days before her Sydney FC teammate Rule put pen to paper, Mackenzie Hawkesby was also signed by Brighton after her impressive season in Sydney’s double-winning campaign.

The central midfielder collected six goals and five assists in 17 games for the Sky Blues last season and was in the 99th percentile for shot-creating actions. Excelling in a plethora of other offensive metrics as well, the 23-year-old will is an exciting prospect to watch as she takes the next step in her career.

Chelsea

Sam Kerr

A player who needs no introduction, the Matildas captain returns to West London for her fifth season as the Blues chase a remarkable fifth straight league title.

Boasting an incredible record in the WSL, Kerr has accrued 54 goals and 18 assists in 67 league appearances for Chelsea.

By her lofty standards, however, last season was a down year for the iconic striker, scoring just 12 goals and providing five assists in the league.

For a player who has finished as high as third in the Ballon d’Or, Kerr will hope to re-find the goal-scoring form that saw her net 20 times in the previous two seasons before last.

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Everton

Clare Wheeler

Following a strong debut season in the WSL, the Matilda midfielder returns for her second season on Merseyside. After impressing on loan at Everton from Danish side Fortuna Hjørring in 2022, Wheeler signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Toffees in January 2023.

A defensively-minded midfielder with a great ability to read the game and break up play, the 25-year-old has been described by Everton coach Brian Sørensen as one of the most consistent players he has coached.

The Toffees finished sixth last season which was an improvement on a calamitous 10th placed finish in 2021/22. This season Wheeler and her side will look to build on the foundations laid last season as they attempt to break into the big four (Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City).

Leicester City

Courtney Nevin

After a successful loan spell in the second half of the 2022/23 season, the Matildas full-back signed a permanent deal with City in July. Formally a teammate of Kyra Cooney-Cross at Hammarby, Nevin started in all 12 of her games on loan from the Swedish side to help the Foxes avoid relegation.

The 21-year-old already has 22 caps for Australia, bringing a wealth of international experience to Leicestershire. A full-back who loves to get forward, Nevin provided four assists from defence last season and will look to continue that trend this season.

Remy Siemsen

Halfway through Sydney FC’s title charge last season, the Matildas forward took the opportunity to move to the WSL and signed for Leicester in January 2023.

The 23-year-old scored a volley on debut against Manchester United but could not quite keep that momentum running, finishing the season with one goal and one assist.

Now returning for her first full season, and with a whole pre-season with the Foxes under her belt, Siemsen will hope her offensive output improves this year.

Liverpool

Teagan Micah

A two-time Damallsvenskan champion with Swedish side FC Rosengard, the Matildas goalkeeper signed for Liverpool in July. While there is already an established number one for the Reds, Micah brings Champions League and international experience with her and will be competing for the starting job.

In pre-season, Micah started just one of four matches so it looks as if she may start the season deputising Racheal Laws, but the 25-year-old will be one to watch should the situation change on Merseyside.

Manchester City

Alanna Kennedy

The 2022/23 season was one to forget for the Matildas centre-back, as a string of injuries kept her off the field for almost the entire year. Kennedy was only able to get on the field for 182 minutes of league football during the campaign and the Manchester City defence suffered because of it.

The 28-year-old was able to return to fitness in time for the World Cup and showed just how valuable she can be as Australia recorded its best-ever finish at the tournament.

The defender now returns for her fourth season in English football and her third with the Citizens, and if she can stay on the pitch City will likely be back challenging for the league title.

Mary Fowler

For one of the most exciting young prospects in Australian football, Fowler’s first season didn’t quite hit the heights she may have been hoping for.

In her first season for City, the young forward saw just 165 minutes of league action, with all of her 11 appearances coming off the bench.

Although, her average of a goal or assist every 82.5 minutes suggests that if given more game time she would have a greater impact.

Fowler was another beneficiary of Sam Kerr’s absence at the start of the World Cup, and the 20-year-old showcased the potential she has to be one of the best forwards in the world.

This season will be all about more minutes on the pitch for the youngster. Hayley Raso’s departure may provide her with more opportunities, and hopefully, she will take them.

West Ham United

Mackenzie Arnold

After an incredible World Cup campaign, which saw her finish second in the Golden Glove behind England’s Mary Earps, the Australian goalkeeper is back for her fourth season in England.

Much like her form for the national team, Arnold’s performances for West Ham have improved with each year in East London, where the 29-year-old has been the consensus number one for the past three seasons.

The Matildas shot-stopper’s consistent performances for the Hammers saw her awarded the captain’s armband this week ahead of the upcoming season.

It doesn’t get much better for the Gold Coast native as she gets ready to lead the team out for the first time against Manchester City on Sunday.

The 2023/24 season kicks off on October 1 at 10:30pm AEST and every match can be seen on Optus Sport.

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