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OhForAGreavsie

Chelsea Women Discussion Thread

Started by OhForAGreavsie,

89 posts in this topic

Sam Kerr and Chelsea Women receive FA WSL trophy

https://www.myfootball.com.au/news/sam-kerr-and-chelsea-women-receive-fa-wsl-trophy

Sam Kerr and Chelsea Women receive FA WSL trophy | Matildas

Sam Kerr has added a second piece of silverware after Chelsea FC were officially presented with the FA Women’s Super League trophy. 

“I want to win trophies.  Yeah, that’s definitely my main goal.  I don’t really care which trophy it is; I just want to win one. ” 

That was Sam Kerr’s stated aim when the Westfield Matildas captain signed for Chelsea Women last November. 

Almost two months to the day since the Football Association awarded Chelsea the FA Women's Super League title, the team were finally presented with the trophy and their medals. 

For Chelsea it means the Blues are on track for the domestic treble after winning the FA Women’s Continental League Cup in February. 

Continental Cup

The FA Women’s Cup remains the only trophy left to complete the 2019/20 season trophy cabinet. 

Chelsea are scheduled to meet Everton in the quarter finals next month. 

 

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Chelsea to open Women's Super League title defence at Manchester United

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/aug/07/chelsea-to-open-womens-super-league-title-defence-at-manchester-united-fixtures-published

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Chelsea will begin their Women’s Super League title defence at Manchester United on the weekend of 5-6 September.

The fixture provides a potentially testing start for Chelsea, who were awarded the 2019-20 title on a points-per-game basis after the campaign was curtailed. United finished fourth last season, albeit some distance behind the leading clubs, and have strengthened with signings including the England midfielder Lucy Staniforth, whose contract at Birmingham had expired.

Fixtures for the first two weekends of the WSL and Championship seasons have been released. Promoted Aston Villa are at home to Manchester City on the opening weekend and a London derby in which Tottenham host West Ham is also scheduled. Arsenal, who are in the Women’s Champions League and will continue until 30 August if they reach the final, start at home to Reading.

The matches are due to take place behind closed doors. Kelly Simmons, the Football Association’s director of the women’s professional game, said: “Fans have had to wait a while to see some live action and being able to announce the first two rounds of fixtures ahead of so many other leagues was something we really pushed for to build up the excitement ahead of the season starting.”

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The Women's Super League has become the best in the world

The Chelsea midfielder reflects on last season’s title and how the arrival of more top players is raising the bar

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2020/sep/04/the-womens-super-league-has-become-the-best-in-the-world-chelsea-guro-reiten

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will definitely never forget my first Women’s Super League title. My Chelsea teammates and I were asked to join a Zoom call so I logged in from Norway during a camping trip. Emma Hayes came on and, all of a sudden, popped open a bottle of champagne: “We’ve won the league!” It felt so weird to find out we had won it on points per game and although it was a fantastic reward for all our work I hope we don’t have to celebrate that way again.

We want to repeat the trick in front of our fans, but first we need to overcome the challenges the next few months will present. It is going to be an incredible season and we can safely say, looking around the division, the bar has been raised. Top players are flocking to England and I am not surprised. This has become the best league in the world and when you see the names coming here, it gets proved over and over again.

One of those top players, Pernille Harder, has just joined us at Chelsea and I’m very excited. Who wouldn’t want her on their team? We want to be the best and she can only improve us. The same can be said for Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis at Manchester City; they will help push women’s football in England forward and they also know they will be playing in a competition with tremendous depth.

There are so many good teams. We saw it throughout last season, for example when Liverpool held us to a draw despite struggling all season.

People are realising what a good product this is and I was delighted to hear WSL games will be shown in the US, on NBC. It shows this is now a truly global league; there are many people who have wanted to see us play but never really had the chance and now opportunities are coming.

I can look at my national team, Norway, to see how times have changed. There are eight or nine of us here, which never used to be the case. The English league is just a different world to the circumstances I came through. When I played back home I was happy with how we did things because it was all I knew. But it is so professional here, from the start of the day until the end, and it means everything can be as we want it.

 

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Fleming on getting ‘beat up’ in ice hockey, ‘persuasive’ Hayes and… solar cells

https://theathletic.com/2044235/2020/09/05/jessie-fleming-chelsea-women-ice-hockey/

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Jessie Fleming freely admits her first six weeks as a Chelsea player, competing with and against the more established names in Emma Hayes’ star-studded squad every day at Cobham before the new Women’s Super League season, have been among the most challenging of her career — and that’s exactly how she likes it.

“We train together for a couple of hours each morning and not quite beat the crap out of each other but we’re able to drive that standard,” she tells The Athletic. “It’s serious and intense but then afterwards, we’re able to sit down, eat a meal together and laugh. It’s really special to have that within a team and it’s important to success. I’ve really enjoyed the quality of the players and people here.”

The welcome in Chelsea Women’s base at the back of Cobham has been warm. Before she got her own car Fleming got daily rides to training from Australian superstar Sam Kerr, who could offer advice on settling in based on her own adaptation process after moving to England in November. Last month she and fellow new signing Niamh Charles navigated another traditional football rite of passage: singing ABBA classic Dancing Queen in front of the rest of the squad at a team dinner. “I don’t think our singing was well received, but the effort was,” she says with a smile.

Canada international Fleming signed a three-year contract with Chelsea in July, having turned down the chance to remain in North America and declare for the NWSL draft after finishing her college career with UCLA Bruins. In the statement announcing her arrival, Hayes described the 22-year-old as “one of the top young players in the world”, adding that, “to be able to sign her is a testament to the work that has been done here for several years. She chose Chelsea. This was her priority, her first choice, and we were over the moon to get her”.

Fleming says Hayes played a leading role in Chelsea’s recruitment effort, calling her several times to talk her through how she would fit into the club’s broader plans. “She reminded me a little bit of my former coach on the national team, John Herdman, who I had a really good relationship with and really enjoyed working with,” she says of Hayes. “It was important to me that she values the person as well as the player she’s bringing in, and she approaches players and her teams with a growth mindset. I knew she was someone who was going to challenge me and help me develop as a player. She was very persuasive and I’ve enjoyed working with her so far.”

Chelsea’s spectacular signings of midfielder Melanie Leupolz from Bayern Munich and forward Pernille Harder for a world-record £300,000 from Wolfsburg have garnered more fanfare but the acquisition of Fleming was no less of a coup. She has been widely regarded as a generational talent in Canadian football ever since making her international debut as a 15-year-old in 2013 and is frequently mentioned as the successor to Christine Sinclair, Canada’s most capped all-time player (296 caps) and scorer of more international goals (186) than any footballer in history.

Sinclair, incredibly, is still Canada’s talisman and captain at the age of 37, and Fleming has cherished the opportunity to call her childhood idol a team-mate for so long. “She’s always been almost like a fantasy figure for a lot of kids growing up in Canada,” she adds. “To have a Canadian who’s scored the most international goals is such an incredible feat and she was the first Canadian player to establish herself on the world stage and be considered world-class.

“On the national team, she’s very quiet but she drives the standard of play with how hard she works and the quality she brings to the team. She’s always set the tone for us younger players and help us set our own expectations for where we want to take the team, to carry on the work that she and the older players have been doing for the last 10 years.

“I feel fortunate that I’ve had the chance to play with her, with Diana Matheson, Melissa Tancredi, Erin McLeod; all these players who won bronze in London 2012. That was a significant event in Canadian soccer. I watched that on TV and then got to come into the national team environment. I don’t think I was quite at that level but having the opportunity to learn from and develop with these players who were stronger and better than me improved my game.”

Sinclair has played her entire club career in North America but many of Fleming’s contemporaries in the Canada team have made the jump to Europe in recent years as the centre of the women’s club game has shifted across the Atlantic. Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence play for Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain while Janine Beckie featured in the Manchester City side that lost to Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

Fleming always intended to join them. “For the last five years, it’s been what I wanted to do and then seeing Kadeisha, Ashley and Janine come over (to Europe), getting to watch their development and hear about their experiences, I wanted to be a part of the Champions League cycle,” she says. “Going to a country with a culture of football that is a lot stronger and more built into everyday life than it is in the US — that aspect also definitely excited me. The leagues are also more competitive and there’s a higher standard of play here.”

But first, she was determined not to pursue her footballing aspirations at the expense of further education. She majored in materials engineering with a minor in environmental science at UCLA while playing for the Bruins and travelling all over the world to represent Canada — she’s amassed a remarkable 77 caps already. “I think I was always kind of a little off-balance,” she says. “I would overload some days with school and other days, my focus was elsewhere. I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years about managing myself and how to compartmentalise a little bit.”

Fleming is still working on her degree in the UK and already has an idea of where she would like her life to go after football. “One application of materials engineering would be solar cell technology or something along those lines — sustainable technologies and construction are things that really interest me,” she says.

Football is Fleming’s passion, though. As a young girl, she would regularly watch Pep Guardiola’s great Barcelona side on TV with her father John between turning heads with her own play in youth matches in her home town of London, Ontario, quickly attracting the attention of national team scouts. Also a keen runner, she distinguished herself in track and field and cross country, as well as regularly playing Canada’s national sport, ice hockey.

Fleming committed totally to football in her early teens, her father John taking her on the four-hour round trip by car from London to Toronto three times a week to train with Team Ontario before she was invited to join Canada’s under-17s. She still credits her childhood experiences competing in other sports with giving her some of the physical and mental skills that have helped power her success in the years since.

“I played boys’ hockey for a long time, which was full-contact,” she says. “I’m not a big person or a tall person, so I probably got beat up a little by the guys and had to figure out how to play a not so physical game. With cross country, playing in midfield, we do a good chunk of running, so my endurance base has always been a really important part of my game. Other sports contributed to the player I am but at some point, you need to specialise and dive into perfecting your craft at one sport.”

Her first World Cup experience with Canada on home turf in 2015 — “I probably realise more now the rarity of that experience, just how special it all was,” she says — came largely off the bench. But by the time the 2019 tournament in France rolled around, Fleming had established herself as the hub of her country’s midfield, a tenacious box-to-box presence with the creativity and quality to carry a goal threat in the final third. Canada bowed out in the round of 16 at the hands of Sweden after she had scored and been voted player of the match in the 2-0 win over New Zealand that got them there.

Jessie Fleming, Canada, Women's World Cup

It could take time for Fleming to acquire such status at Chelsea. Her first appearance was as an injury-time substitute in the Community Shield, where Ji So-yun and Leupolz were both impressive at the heart of midfield. But her rapid rise to prominence with Canada is testament to her ability to rise to every challenge placed in front of her and it’s clear from listening to her talk that she demands more from herself than Hayes or anyone else could.

“I’m intrinsically motivated, so when I come into an environment where other players are better, I’m inclined to learn from other people and I want to get to that level,” she says. “I get kind of impatient with it sometimes but it was the number one factor in me wanting to come to a club like Chelsea. I’m trying to put myself in a position to get better and I feel like this is the place where it’s going to happen.

“I have high ambitions for myself but I also recognise that real change and growth in your game doesn’t happen overnight. For me right now, it’s just about showing up at training every day, working as hard as I can and finding those parts of my game that I can tweak and how I can get myself to the next level.”

The culture that Hayes has built at Chelsea demands nothing less than being the best in the world and, after another stellar summer of recruitment despite the pandemic, Champions League glory looks more achievable than ever.

Fleming fancies their chances. “If there’s any group of people who are going to beat Lyon now, I think it’s us,” she says. “Between the players and the coaching staff, everyone has their sights set high this year. With that, there’s a lot of expectation but there’s a lot of excitement in the group with the level we’re playing at this early in the season.”

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Watched my first match of our Chelsea woman and we were much better than United. Sadly, we conceded a stupid goal in the end, but we should have already finished the game because we had many clear chances

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