With over a dozen Australian players testing their abilities in Europe’s top leagues, we take you through the players, the clubs and the leagues.
20 years ago there were only a handful of Westfield Matildas plying their trade in Europe. Now Aussie fans are going to be spoilt for leagues and players to get behind.
League Name: FA Women’s Super League
Season: Early Sept 2020 – Mid May 2021 (Fixtures to be confirmed)
Domestic Cup: FA Women’s Cup
Sam Kerr heads into her second season with Chelsea FC and her first full run with the Blues after signing in 2019. Kerr, currently enjoying her first pre-season with Emma Hayes’ side, will be looking to add to her debut goal for the defending FA Women’s Super League Champions.
[MORE: Sam Kerr and Chelsea Women receive FA WSL trophy]
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Chloe Logarzo completed her move to Bristol City FC earlier this year after winning two Championships with Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League. The midfielder could prove crucial for fellow Aussie Tanya Oxtoby’s side, as ‘The Robins’ look to retain their Super League status for next season.
Steph Catley headlines the recent Aussie influx of powerhouse outfit Arsenal FC after signing with the Gunners in July. The Westfield Matildas vice-captain has played 82 games for her country and boasts four domestic Championships and two Premierships with Melbourne City in Australia. Gunners fans will be hoping she can bring that winning mentality to their side this season as they look to return to the top of the Women's Super League.
Lydia Williams is another star Australian to sign with Arsenal FC over the break. The Westfield Matildas shot-stopper faces stiff competition with Austrian team-mate Manuela Zinsberger, who won two Frauen Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich. However, Australians have no doubt Williams can fight her way into the side and provide the quality which has earned her 88 caps for her nation.
Wollongong-born Caitlin Foord notched up two appearances for Arsenal FC before the FA Women’s Super League season was suspended showing Gunners fans glimpses of her quality. With a new season on the horizon, and two Westfield Matildas joining her in North London, Australian and Arsenal fans hope Foord can reach another level with Joe Montemurro’s side.
Hayley Raso's rise up the Westfield Matildas pecking order in recent years, has caught the eye of Willie Kirk signing the winger to Everton FC until 2021. Raso has already won the hearts and minds of Westfield Matildas supporters and hopes to replicate her eye-catching style of play that has won her so many fans in her upcoming season with the Toffees.
After playing between the sticks at four different Westfield W-League clubs, Mackenzie Arnold has taken the leap into the FA Women’s Super League with London outfit West Ham United. The custodian has been a foundation for both club and country over almost a decade and will look to find career-best form in England with the Tokyo Olympics and home FIFA Women’s World Cup to prepare for.
League Name: Toppserien
Season: 4th July 2020 – 15th November 2020
Domestic Cup: NM Cupen Women
Where to watch: Direktsport.no (Subscription required)
Clare Polkinghorne has made the switch from hometown club Brisbane Roar to Norwegian side Avaldsnes prior to the start of the 2020 Toppserien season. The experienced defender brings an immense pedigree with 125 international appearances, an Olympic Games, and four FIFA Women’s World Cup campaigns under her belt.
Katrina Gorry follows her long time Brisbane Roar team-mate and Polkinghorne to Avaldsnes, with the Queenslander continuing the trend of Aussies in Norwegian football. Gorry has played at the top level in Australia since the age of 17 and the midfielder’s immense work-rate will be crucial if her side are to compete for the Toppserien title.
Another Queenslander, Teagan Micah has her first professional contract after signing with Toppserien side Arna-Bjørnar. Following three outstanding years with UCLA in the United States, Micah will be working towards a break-out professional season in 2020 to hopefully earn her first Westfield Matildas cap.
Karly Roestbakken is another Australian who has been comfortable in cooler climates before moving to Norway, having played all her junior and senior football in Canberra.
The 19-year-old is the most recent arrival after signing with LSK Kvinner in April. Roestbakken will look to build on her previous season where she announced herself on the international stage, earning her first senior Westfield Matildas cap at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
League Name: Division 1 Féminine
Season: 5th September 2020 – 5th June 2021
Domestic Cup: Coupe de France Féminine
Ellie Carpenter’s rise as one of the world’s best full-backs has been rewarded with a move to European Champions Olympique Lyonnais. The French giants are considered by many the best women’s side in world football and with Carpenter on the flank, the potential improvement for the 20-year-old Westfield Matilda is limitless.
Mary Fowler signed with French side Montpellier earlier this year ahead of the 2020/21 season. The 17-year-old surprised everyone with a call-up to the Westfield Matildas at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Australian fans will be eager to see how this future forward competes with Europe’s best.
Emma Checker opted out of contesting a second straight Westfield W-League Championship with Melbourne City, instead choosing to test her skills with French side FC Fleury 91.
After a long injury spell, Laura Brock is looking to gain some minutes under her belt as she eyes Tokyo 2020. Brock signed with EA Guingamp in July, joining a host of Aussies who believe the standard of competition in France is some of the best in the women’s game.
League Name: Eredivisie Women
Season: 24th August 2020 - 28th March 2021
Domestic Cup: Women’s Cup
Amy Harrison announced her transition to European football with a move to PSV Eindhoven. Harrison will hope to build on a successful Westfield W-League campaign with Western Sydney Wanderers and cement her position in the national team.
Kyah Simon confirmed her move from Melbourne City to Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven in July. The 92-cap international has expressed her admiration for the passion and atmosphere seen in the Eredivisie and fans will hope she continues to bring her thirst for trophies to a side gunning for first league title.
League Name: Primera División (Primera Iberdrola)
Season: 7th September 2020 – 17th May 2021
Domestic Cup: Copa de la Reina
Alex Chidiac is about to enter her third season with Spanish side Atletico Madrid. The midfielder has played limited minutes but will be eager to find fitness and form with an Olympic Games next year.
Jenna McCormick signed a two-year deal in July with Spanish outfit Real Betis. McCormick move into the Westfield Matildas squad has seen her pursue international football to keep improving her game. With Real Betis, she can now compete alongside the world’s top players as the South Australian has sights on the Tokyo Olympics.
Aivi Luik followed McCormick to the Spanish city of Seville, however has recently signed with cross-town rivals Sevilla FC. Their rivalry with Real Betis is sure to be a passionate clashes for city dominance, with bragging rights up for grabs between the Westfield Matildas team-mates.
League Name: Damallsvenskan
Season: 27th June – 16th November 2020
Domestic Cup: Svenska Cupen Women
Emily Gielnik would be considered a veteran of European football compared with her Australian counterparts after spending time with German giants Bayern Munich. She is now playing in Sweden with Vittsjo GIK and will be determined to show her vlaue in a new environment.
Elise Kellond-Knight signed with Swedish side Kristianstads DFF, but an ACL injury in July means she will have to support her young team from the sidelines for the time being.
However, the wisdom and experience Kellond-Knight brings to the Damallsvenskan is almost unmatched within the Westfield Matildas, with the defensive midfielder accruing an astonishing 113 international appearances over 13 years