The countdown to the new season begins this weekend, as Chelsea Women begin preparations for another tilt at dominating Women’s football. The Continental Cup kicks off this weekend, a competition where Chelsea departed in the semi-finals last season. The league kicks off next weekend for the defending champions and further down the line the Champions League and the FA Cup will begin. There have been a lot of notable changes to the playing staff this summer as players synonymous with the club have departed. These have been replaced with new signings who have a lot to prove:
Lizzie Durack (from Everton)
The 24 year old goalkeeper arrived as the first of Chelsea’s new signings this summer and will aim to provide competition to her goalkeeping colleagues in the squad. Durack was named as one of the top 10 emerging players in European football by UEFA in 2013 and is beginning to make good on that potential after playing more minutes in a season last year (990) than she ever has. The Australian born keeper qualifies to play for England due to her mother being from Doncaster and she has already pledged her allegiance to the Three Lions after earning her one cap in 2014. With two runners up medals to her name so far in her career, she will hope to go one better in a number of competitions this season.
Sophie Ingle (from Liverpool)
Ingle returns to the Blues after five years away in which she has become one of the finest defensive midfielders in the league as well as an integral player for her country. She was named Liverpool Ladies Player of the Season last year and she will hope to bring that form into the Chelsea side this year. Brought in as the direct replacement for former Chelsea club captain Katie Chapman, Ingle has some big boots to fill but the Welshwoman has a lot of experience herself to take the challenge head on.
Jessica Carter (from Birmingham)
Wonderkid Jess Carter had many offers over the summer from clubs all over the country but the 20 year old eventually chose to swap the blue of Birmingham for the blue of Chelsea. At such a young age, Carter already has a deep level of experience having made her debut for Birmingham at the age of 16; but last year was the winger’s breakout year and she will want to build on that. She finally got the first league goal of her career last season and will expect to get amongst the goals at Chelsea with such an attacking team.
Ali Riley (from Rosengård)
Chelsea’s first of two new signings from overseas this summer signalled their intent for the upcoming season. Being able to bring in a player with such pedigree in World football will stand the team in good stead for the 2018/2019 season. Riley arrives in London after a 6 year trophy laden stint in Sweden with Rosengård. The wing back was a vital cog at Rosengård with her energy up and down the wing; she contributed with a whole lot of assists and her all action displays meant she was nominated in the Swedish league’s Team of the Season for five years in a row.
Adelina Engman (from Goteburg FC)
The Finn will join up with a team already filled with attacking talent but Adelina Engman won’t be overawed. In fact, the competition will drive her to do better. Her last matches for Goteburg were slightly poor as she left Sweden with only 2 goals in her final 10 games, however we shouldn’t be deceived. Back in her homeland, when she played for Åland United she banged in 63 goals in a 113 games at a rate of a goal every other game.