Everton have a very talented squad, a well versed manager, and all the tools they need to break into the FAWSL elite. What they lack is a mental edge, and it showed in their fifth-place finish this year. 

The team started the season strong, with four wins out of the gate. Their fifth match was against Brighton and ended in a 2-2 draw. It was a match that they should have won based on their performance, and their chances.

Still, they were unbeaten going into their next match: away at Chelsea. 

At that point in the season, Chelsea was going into the match with the exact same results as Everton, four wins, and one draw. Yet, as soon as the first whistle was blown, the hosts were all over Everton on the pitch, and the dominant and defiant Everton that had played the first five matches of the season were nowhere to be found.

Chelsea scored within the first 20 minutes, and the score remained 1-0 at halftime. Everton had a few chances to equalize but failed to capitalize. The story of the second half was similar; Chelsea were not necessarily defending well, but their opponents had little composure in front of the goal. Eventually, three late goals gave Chelsea the 4-0 win. 

“I thought our performance was really good,” said Everton manager Willie Kirk. “Nobody can convince me that’s a 4-0 performance. It’s a bump in the road but a very sore one.” 

Things after that Chelsea match did not improve, with only one win in their next seven matches. For such a strong start at the beginning of the season, Everton ended up finishing the 22 match season with only nine wins. After their seventh loss of the season, a 2-1 defeat against Arsenal, Blues midfielder, Izzy Christiansen, spoke about the team’s mental state throughout the season. The defeat came after a 94th minute penalty from Arsenal’s Kim Little.

“We just have to overcome that fear that we have against these bigger teams sometimes, it is that boundary between being good and being great,” said Christiansen, who ended the season as Everton’s top scorer with seven goals in all competitions. “We showed a lot of grit and bite today that we haven’t necessarily shown in previous games against top-three teams. I am proud of the team for that and we were really unlucky to concede the penalty, but it is a learning curve for us.”

The problem was that there were no clear signs of an easy solution. The tactics by Kirk seemed appropriate, and the players were playing well as a team for the most part. Instead, the loss of points almost always came down to lapses’ in concentration for Everton: unnecessarily penalties conceded, poor defensive decision making, and an inability to score in crucial moments despite creating big chances for themselves. 

After the Arsenal match, Everton had a chance to rectify their mistake by playing another top team in Manchester United for their last game of the season. 

United, despite being in poor forms themselves, won the match 2-0, with Ella Toone scoring an early volley in the 8th minute, and Kirsty Hanson scoring a late one in the 89th minute. 

Jill Scott, who is one of Everton’s most experienced players and is on loan from Manchester City discussed her team’s frame of mind during the match. 

“We’re disappointed with the result. We probably didn’t start the game at our best. If you go 1-0 down, you give yourself a bit of a mountain to climb,” she said. “We just got a little bit desperate at the end, the game became too open and we were always chasing that win.”

Kirk also talked about making a push for a Champions League spot next season after the match. 

“There’s an evident gap between us and the top four. We need to make changes. We need to change our working practices. We need to continue to work at the culture. There’s got to be a little bit more of a killer instinct,” he said. “As a team, I feel we’re on a cliff edge and it’s about the ones who are brave enough to jump and have a bit of faith. When you jump, there’s going to be a nice landing. Those who don’t jump, they can’t be here because we need to find a way of jumping into something positive. It’s about taking those ones with us who are brave enough and making sure we are competing for Champions League spots next season.”

There is no overnight solution for combating the problem that Everton have. But if the club wants to break into the FAWSL elite, the players and the coaching staff need to work together to instill a tougher mentality against the teams above them in the table. You can’t join the elite until you believe you belong there, and Everton has reasons to believe they do.

The Champions League final is fast approaching. Chelsea vs Barcelona: two teams who have yet to win the coveted trophy, and who are each looking to wrap up their wildly successful seasons. 

These are the players who will decide which team walks away with the biggest trophy in Europe.

Asisat Oshoala, Barcelona 

It became apparent early on in Asisat Oshoala’s career that she was a player to watch. In her teen years, she impressed for F.C. Robbo and River Angels, two clubs in her native country of Nigeria. Her breakout year in 2014 saw her lead Nigeria to the final of the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Nigeria ended up losing 1-0 to Germany, but Oshoala was awarded the Golden Ball for being the best player of the tournament and the Golden Shoe for being the tournament’s top scorer. A couple of months later, Nigeria won the 2014 African Women’s Championship, and Oshoala was again awarded the Golden Ball. 

She became the first African player to play in England when she signed for Liverpool in 2015, and a year later, she moved to Arsenal, winning the FA Women’s Cup with the Gunners. After a short stint in China with Dalian W.F.C., where she won two league championships, she was acquired on a loan deal by Barcelona in the middle of the 2018/19 season. 

Oshoala’s performances at Barcelona have cemented her as one of the world’s best. In her first season, she failed to win any hardware with the club, despite having a fantastic individual season, scoring seven goals in her seven league appearances. Barcelona came second in the Primera División, losing the top spot to Atlético Madrid. 

The club had a chance to win their first-ever UEFA Women’s Champions League that season; however, they lost 4-1 to the ever-dominant Olympique Lyonnais. Regardless, Oshoala made history that night, becoming the first Barcelona player and African player to ever score in a Women’s Champions League Final and the first Nigerian to score in any Champions League final, men’s or women’s.

In her second season, she was an integral part of the club, winning both the Primera División and Copa de la Reina. This season, Barcelona are on track to once again win the league, having won every single league game thus far, putting them at a perfect 75 points, with 127 goals scored in 25 games. Their ticket to the Champions League final came from victories in the quarter-final against Manchester City and the semi-finals against Paris Saint-Germain.

Oshoala, as a striker, is one of the deadliest poachers in the game. When she’s in the box, she consistently finishes plays by challenging the opposition defenders for the ball and betting on herself in 1vs1 situations against the goalkeeper. 

Every team has struggled to contain her in the Champions League thus far. Chelsea will need to buck the trend if they want to win.

Lieke Martens, Barcelona

Even if Chelsea can successfully isolate Oshoala, they’ll still have to worry about Barcelona’s star midfielder Lieke Martens. 

Martens spent the first eight years of her career playing all around Europe, accumulating different tactics from different coaches that allowed her to become the versatile player she is today. 

The Dutch native began her career in Holland with Heerenveen in 2009 before moving on to VVV-Venlo the following year. She then moved to Belgium to play for Standard Liege, where she won the Super Cup in 2012. 

Martens then went on to play for Duisburg in Germany and for Goteborg and Rosengärd in Sweden, where she won the Cup and Super Cup with the latter in 2016. 

She also made her senior national team debut in 2011 after becoming the top scorer at the U–19 Euros in 2010. With the senior national team, she then scored the Netherlands’ first-ever Women’s World Cup goal in 2015, at the age of 22. 

She became one of Barcelona’s most high-profile signings in 2017 and since then has continued to impress. The same month, she led the Netherlands to their first international trophy after they beat Denmark 4-2 in the final of the 2017 UEFA European Women’s Championship. She was named the tournament’s best player and was awarded not only the Golden Ball but also the Bronze Boot. 

Her contributions to Barcelona, both in Primera División and in the Champions League, have earned her a multitude of individual honours, including the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award and The Best FIFA Women’s Player. 

As mentioned prior, Martens is an exceptionally well-rounded player with the versatility to play both on the wing and in midfield. Her unpredictability is a nightmare for opponents, and her ability to read the game allows her to dictate the play and tempo of the match in favour of her side. She is also disciplined enough to put in a shift defensively and make sure that the opponent’s attackers do not have any number advantage.

Her positional awareness, dribbling ability and speed are aspects of her game that can push Barcelona over the line to win their first-ever Champions League trophy. 

Fran Kirby, Chelsea

Barcelona may be stacked, with players like Oshoala, Martens, Alexia Putellas, Vicky Losada, and Jennifer Hermoso. But so is Chelsea. 

Fran Kirby has been one of their most dominant players since she signed for the London club in 2015. 

Kirby has always been a goalscorer. Prior to Chelsea, she played for Reading, her hometown club, and in forty-two appearances, she scored 68 goals, averaging 1.6 goals a game. When she signed for Chelsea, expectations were high. 

And these expectations were met. With the club, Kirby has won six trophies, including four FA Women’s Super League titles, the most of any team. 

With England, Kirby was a standout in the team’s third-place finish in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada and was an integral part of the Lionesses win in the SheBelieves Cup in 2019. 

Kirby is another one of those extremely versatile players who can play multiple positions. Initially, Kirby was an attacking midfielder, playing in the number 10 role, which occupies the space right behind the forward players. Her job was to make plays and connect the team’s midfield to the forward strikers. However, over the years, she has been deployed as second striker often, playing more in the penalty box and supporting the number nine in scoring goals. 

Kirby has scored 23 goals this season, with six of them being in the Champions League, the most out of any Chelsea player. Barcelona will have to work tirelessly in defence if they don’t want to concede a goal that Kirby is involved in. 

Pernille Harder, Chelsea

It’s hard to talk about Kirby without talking about Harder, who have been partners in crime on the pitch for Chelsea this season. We already know that Sam Kerr will be a difference maker in the Champions League final, but Harder’s play may have a greater impact on Chelsea’s success. 

Harder spent the early days of her career in her home country of Denmark. Playing primarily as a striker at IK Skovbakken, she scored 22 goals in 27 appearances. By 2012, after five years of playing in Denmark, she decided to move to Sweden to play for Linköpings. Her performances in the Damallsvenskan (Swedish League) are what got her international recognition. In two seasons, she won three trophies and won the Damallsvenskan’s Forward of the Year and MVP award twice. 

By 2016, several clubs had shown interest in acquiring Harder, and in January of 2017, she became a VfL Wolfsburg player. Harder was part of a larger project at Wolfsburg, with the club signing several high-profile players in hopes of being a consistent force in German football and in the Champions League. 

Harder’s time at Wolfsburg did lead to domestic domination. The club won both the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal double in the four consecutive seasons that Harder was a part of the team, with Harder winning the league Golden Boot in two of those seasons. However, Wolfsburg were no match for Lyon, and they lost to the French club in two separate Champions League finals. 

Despite coming second in both 2018 and 2020, Harder impressed during all her Champions League campaigns with Wolfsburg, winning two UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Awards and two UEFA Champions League Forward Awards. 

With her performances in Germany, it was no surprise that she became the world’s most expensive women footballer after signing for Chelsea in September of 2020. The world-record fee saw Harder come to London and join a star-studded attack that includes Kirby, Kerr, and Bethany England. 

Harder has taken Chelsea to the next level; she is a creative and game-intelligent forward who makes her mark through excellent positioning, intricate passing, and on-target shooting. She has the ability to play as a forward, a second striker, or an attacking midfielder.

Chelsea have already won three trophies this season, and both Harder and Kirby have been integral to the team’s success. Barcelona will have to work as a unit to be defensively sound in order to keep the Chelsea offense out.

Tune in: Champions League final is Sunday, May 16th at 3:00pm ET.

For more FAWSL coverage, check out The Soccer Show from Just Women’s Sports, a first-of-its-kind, highlights-driven show covering the Women’s Super League. 

Editor’s note: this piece was published before Manchester United announced that manager Casey Stoney would be stepping down

The FAWSL season ended this past weekend, with Manchester United finishing fourth. Their 47 points in the 22 match season not only fell short of a FA Women’s Super League league title, it also kept them from qualifying for the Champions League. 

Looking at the grand scheme of things, a fourth-place finish is not bad for a team only founded in 2018, one that is competing in just its second season in the top-flight. However, context is essential, and United clearly have issues that need to be addressed. 

In December of 2020, it looked like Manchester United were locked in as potential title winners for the FAWSL 2020/21 season. By March of 2021, their form had dipped, but they were still firmly in third place, which guaranteed them a spot in next year’s Champions League. By the end, they were on the outside looking in. 

The fumbling throughout the season is “a failure,” according to manager Casey Stoney.

“I would never say my players failed because they give 100 percent effort all the time. But for me as a head coach, I would see that as a failure, yes. We’ve set out to hit top three, and we haven’t got it. I’m the head coach of the team, and I’ll take responsibility for that. I’ll look at all angles.”

Man United had some injuries to key players this season, with Tobin Heath, Leah Galton, Alessia Russo, and Lauren James missing a significant amount of matches. Stoney doesn’t see that as a reasonable excuse. 

“If we had every single player fit throughout the season, would we have more of a chance? Of course, we would have. But we lost games when we could have won them, we missed chances at crucial moments in games, and I’m responsible for that.”

If Manchester United wants to come back stronger, they need to address their recruitment. 

Last summer, the club invested in multiple big-name players. Heath and Christen Press, two of the USWNT’s most prominent stars, were acquired from the Portland Thorns and Utah Royals. The club also signed Carrie Jones, Lucy Staniforth, Ona Batlle, Ivana Fuso, and Alessia Russo.

But recruitment isn’t always about getting the best players in the world. It’s about finding the players that fit your club’s specific needs. It was clear from last season that the club needed a consistent striker, a poacher of sorts whose main job would be goal-scoring. They didn’t acquire one this summer, and they suffered because of it. United’s top scorer in the league this season was Ella Toone with ten goals, while Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal all had two players who scored at least ten goals.

Chelsea’s Sam Kerr scored 21 goals while Arsenal Vivanne Miedema bagged 18. Players of Kerr and Miedema’s caliber aren’t exactly just lying around, but the role they play is one that United needs to fill.

The offensive disparity becomes even more obvious when looking at the total number of goals scored by these top four teams. Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal scored 69, 65, and 63 goals respectively. Manchester United scored 44. That’s not enough for a side that wants to challenge for the title. 

In the winter transfer market, United had a chance to rectify their lack of scoring goals by signing a striker, but their only business was obtaining Norwegian defender Maria Thorisdottir.

United still have the pieces in place to eventually become one of the best teams in the world, especially if Tobin Heath and Christen Press return. 

Stoney is a fantastic manager, one who is able to get the very best out of her players. But if Manchester United want to compete next year, they need to be smarter about their recruitment. They need to look at the gaps that their squad actually has and fill them accordingly. If that happens, they have a chance to not only compete in the FAWL, but also become a force in Europe.


Bayern Munich vs Chelsea (Leg 1 of 2)

FC Bayern Campus Platz 1, Munich, Germany

Kickoff: April 25th, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. EST

Bayern Munich will host Chelsea for the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final. Here’s a look at how both teams got here. 

Out of the four semifinalists, Bayern arguably had the easiest opponent in the quarter-finals against Swedish side, FC Rosengård, which was certainly refreshing, given that last season, they were eliminated from the competition by eventual champions Olympique Lyonnais. 

In the first leg, Bayern dominated from the first whistle. Rosengård were set up in a very defensive formation, with hopes that they would be able to keep Bayern out and nick a goal on a counter-attack. However, they situated themselves too deep in their own half, and with Bayern controlling most of the possession, they had ample chances to score. 

The first goal came in the ninth minute from Linda Dallmann, who was left wide open to take the powerful shot. The second goal came about 10 minutes later from Klara Bühl. 

After half-time, Bayern finished it off in the 65th minute with a goal from Lineth Beerensteyn, making it 3-0.

From there on out, they defended well and ensured that Rosengård would not walk away with any away goals.

Going into the second leg, FC Rosengård were much more attacking-minded; they had to be given that they needed to score at least four goals to advance to the semis. However, the match simply became a formality when Bayern’s Lea Schüller scored the only goal of the match, giving Bayern complete control with the crucial away goal.

Going into the matchup against Bayern, Chelsea will already have experienced playing a German team, given that their quarter-final opponent was VfL Wolfsburg, who they beat 5-1 on aggregate. 

Wolfsburg are a team that have had Chelsea’s number in the past in this competition, so the English champions did have a lot to prove going into this tie. The first leg was smooth sailing at first for Chelsea, with Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder scoring in the 55th and 66th minute respectively, giving them a 2-0 lead. 

However, Wolfsburg pulled one back after Dominique Janssen scored a penalty, giving the German side an away goal. 

Going into the second leg with a 2-1 scoreline, tensions were high because of the tight margins. The first twenty minutes of the match was extremely back and forth, and it truly looked like it could be anyone’s game, with both sides getting chances. It was Chelsea who struck first, with Harder scoring a penalty in the 27th minute.

The goal definitely seemed to deflate any optimism that Wolfsburg had, and four minutes later, Chelsea struck again, with Kerr scoring the second.

Fran Kirby made it 3-0 in the 81st minute, ensuring that Chelsea would advance to the semi-finals.

This semi-final matchup will showcase how both teams can handle pressure. Both Bayern Munich and Chelsea have never gotten past the semi-finals in the Champions League. Neither can rely on experience anymore. Instead, it’ll be about who has more grit, determination, and the better tactics to beat the other. Either way, it should be a thriller. 

MATCH INFO: Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona (Leg 1 of 2), Stade Municipal Georges Lefèvre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

Kickoff: April 25th, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. EST

Paris Saint-Germain will host Barcelona for the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final. Here’s how both teams got here.

PSG were drawn against Olympique Lyonnais in the quarter finals, who are widely considered the best team in the world. They’ve won seven Champions League titles and the last five in a row, becoming the team to beat in the competition. 

In the first leg, Lyon did what they do best: they won. A single penalty from Wendie Renard gave them the advantage going into the second leg, which looked to be headed in a similar direction after Catarina Macario scored in the 4th minute to give Lyon a two-goal aggregate advantage. 

However, PSG were able to answer back a mere 20 minutes later, with a fantastic goal from midfielder  Grace Geyoro, her first of the 202/21 Champions League campaign. 

After halftime, PSG continued to push in an effort to find a goal that would put them through to the next round on away goals. Lyon were quite sloppy in possession with misplaced passes, and it seemed like it’d only be a matter of time before PSG scored another. The needed goal came in the 61st minute, with Renard scoring an own goal in an attempt to cut off PSG’s Kadidiatou Diani’s cross into the box.

The goal gave Paris Saint-Germain the 2-1 lead, and they held on until the final whistle. With the final score being 2-2 on aggregate, the Parisians advanced on away goals to the semi-finals, ending Lyon’s five-year streak as European champions.

PSG’s opponents in the semi-finals, Barcelona, knocked out English powerhouse Manchester City with a final score of 4-2 on aggregate, in what may have been the biggest surprise of the quarter finals. 

Barcelona comfortably beat Man City 3-0 in the first leg, with the first goal coming off a smart finish from Asisat Oshoala in the 35th minute. Going into half-time at 1-0, the match was far from over, but City struggled to contain Oshoala, and the striker won a penalty early in the second half that teammate Mariona Caldentey converted. 

Jennifer Hermoso scored Barca’s third after a shot hit the post, giving Man City the daunting task of needing to score at least four goals in the second leg in Manchester.

Things started off well for City in the second leg, with Janine Beckie scoring within the first twenty minutes. 

However, Oshoala once again continuously caused the home-side problems. She scored in the 59th minute, easing any pressure Barca was facing. 

Sam Mewis scored a penalty about ten minutes later, but of course, it wasn’t enough for the English side to qualify.

Both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona faced tough opponents in the quarters, and both teams showed exactly why they deserve to be in the competition. 

Each club has made it to the final of the UWCL before, but have failed to get their hands on the coveted trophy. Now they have a chance to make the leap.

For PSG, they’ve already dispatched their domestic rivals. But losing in the semis would sour that achievement. For Barcelona, meanwhile, now is their chance to prove that they belong in the discussion of Europe’s best club. Fireworks should be expected.

Kickoff is April 21st, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. EST

The 2020/21 FAWSL season is coming to a close, with match week 20 out of 22 upon us, and all eyes on the clash between second-place Manchester City and first-place Chelsea. Only two points separate the two sides, and this match will likely be the decider in which team brings home the league title.

Both teams are going into the match with fantastic form. The hosts have won their last 12 league games, with an impressive win against rivals Manchester United and Arsenal, solidifying themselves in the top two. 

While they were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, Man City won the second leg 2-1 and seemingly learned from their mistakes in their earlier 3-0 loss. 

Chelsea have not lost a game since February 7th. In that time, they’ve won six league game, progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League (beating Wolfsburg 5-1 on aggregate), and are well on their way to the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup after a 5-0 win against the London City Lionesses. 

Both Emma Hayes and Gareth Taylor know that they must set up their respective teams in a way to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses. A task much easier said than done. 

Hayes will rely on her dominant front three of Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby, and Pernille Harder to exploit Manchester City’s defense.

With the arrival of Abby Dahlkemper, City’s backline has improved. Throughout the season, however, they’ve often found themselves unable to defend for the full ninety minutes, leading to late equalizers and winners against them. 

For Taylor, he will hope that Caroline Weir and Sam Mewis can win the midfield battle against Chelsea, ensuring that they have more possession of the ball and more chances to score.

Given that neither team is expected to lose any other game the rest of the way, the stakes of this match couldn’t be higher. It’s a de facto title showdown, and while both teams have impressed so far, the story of the season will be decided Wednesday.

The NWSL Challenge Cup is back for year two. 

In 2020, the NWSL announced its return from the COVID-19 pandemic with the first-ever Challenge Cup, a single-site tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Houston Dash would go on to win their first trophy as a club, knocking off the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 in the final. 

The tournament was originally intended to be a single-year stopgap. However, its record-breaking popularity and success led the league to run it back in 2021. 

Tournament Format

This year, ten clubs will be competing, with the Orlando Pride back in action after missing last year due to COVID and new team Racing Louisville set to compete in its inaugural season. 

The ten teams have been divided into two regional divisions: the East Division (North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Racing Louisville, Sky Blue FC, and Washington Spirit) and the West Division (Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City, OL Reign, and Portland Thorns). 

Each team will play every other team in its division once. Games will be played in home markets, and the teams with the most points in each division at the end of round-robin play will compete in the final on May 8th, 2021. 

The early stages of the tournament will be occurring during an international break, making national team players unavailable for the first portion of the tournament. 

Defending champions Houston Red Dash kick off the tournament against last season’s runner-ups, the Chicago Red Stars, on April 9th. 

Full schedule below. Note that all games will be available for international audiences on Twitch. 


April 9

Houston Dash vs Chicago Red Stars @ 8:30 PM on CBSSN

Portland Thorns vs Kansas City @ 10:30 PM on Paramount+


April 10

NC Courage vs Washington Spirit @ 3:30 PM on Paramount+

Racing Louisville vs Orlando Pride @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+


April 14

Orlando Pride vs Sky Blue @ 7:00 PM on CBSSN 


April 15

Chicago Red Stars vs Portland Thorns @ 7:30 PM on Paramount+


April 16

Washington Spirit vs Racing Louisville @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+

OL Reign vs Houston Dash @ 10:00 PM on Paramount+


April 20

Sky Blue vs NC Courage @ 6:00 PM on Paramount+

Chicago Red Stars vs Kansas City @ 8:30 PM on Paramount+


April 21

Orlando Pride vs Washington Spirit @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+

Portland Thorns vs OL Reign @ 10:00 PM on CBSSN 


April 26

Racing Louisville vs NC Courage @ 6:00 PM on Paramount+

Kansas City vs Houston Dash @ 8:30 PM on Paramount+


April 27

Washington Spirit vs Sky Blue @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+

OL Reign vs Chicago Red Stars @ 10:00 PM on Paramount+


May 1

NC Courage vs Orlando Pride @ 7:30 PM on CBSSN 


May 2

Sky Blue vs Racing Louisville @ 12:30 PM on Paramount+

Kansas City vs OL Reign @ 4:30 PM on Paramount+

Houston Dash vs Portland Thorns @ 7:30 PM on Paramount+


May 8

Final @ 1:00 PM on CBS & Paramount+


We know, we know—no one will ever agree on who the best player in the world is. But Sam Mewis is making the case that she has to be included whenever we have the conversation.

Players like Marta and Christine Sinclair are legends of the game, and at one point, they both had a claim to be the best in the world. But while both are still performing at a high level, they’re no longer at their peak. 

Over the last couple of years, several players have vied to assume their title of the best in the world. 

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin are the most successful club team of the past decade. It’s hard to argue that players such as Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry, and Dzsenifer Marozsán aren’t in contention for the best in the world as long as they continue to dominate for Lyon. 

In the FAWSL, Chelsea’s Pernille Harder and Sam Kerr and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema have consistently made cases for themselves, as well as Manchester City stars such as Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton, who have been integral for England as well. 

However, a fantastic 2019 and an even better 2020 has seen Mewis skyrocket into the conversation. On the second episode of JWS’ The Soccer Show, David Copeland-Smith described her ascension:

Looking ahead to 2021, the 28-year-old is just entering her prime, and she will likely make a case for herself as one of the best by the end of the year. According to ESPN, she’s already there:

Mewis’ skillset is what has propelled her to stardom; there simply aren’t many players like her around. 

In the modern game, multi-dimensional players are far more important than in decades prior. Gone are the days where the ten outfield players had one specific role on the pitch. Now, players are expected to be as versatile as possible. The more diverse set of skills a player has, the more valuable they become. 

The evolution of the midfielders’ role is an example of this. A box-to-box midfielder often has the duties of both an attacking midfielder and a defensive one. In possession, they’ll be high up the pitch supporting the forward players, and out of possession, they’ll be situated in front of the defensive line. 

A box-to-box midfielder gives a manager and their team the best of both worlds. And that’s what Mewis is: an excellent box-to-box midfielder, whose goals and assists are only an added bonus. She can defend well, head the ball away from danger, create chances, and dribble out of tight spaces.

As such an all-around player, it was almost too easy for her when she left North Carolina Courage to go to Manchester City. New country, new league, but no problem for Mewis. 

She adapted to her new club’s playing style as quick as ever, and has shown her worth with big performances in both the FAWSL and the Champions League. Early in the season, her goals in both the semi-final and the final of the FA Cup helped secure the trophy for Man City. 

Coming off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup win, a win which Mewis was integral to, she played in eight out of nine matches for the USWNT in 2020. Her performances in these 8 matches led to her being named the U.S Soccer Female Player of the Year for 2020. Her great form continued in 2021 with her first ever hat trick in a win against Columbia.

Mewis’ Manchester City are currently second in the league, with a possible title decider coming up against Chelsea on April 25th. The club have also made it through to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League. They’re currently down 0-3 to Barcelona after the first leg on March 24th. City have to hope that Mewis is in top form if they have any chance of a comeback. 

For the USWNT, the next major tournament is the upcoming Olympics, and barring any injuries, Mewis will likely be one of the first on Vlatko Andonovski’s list. 

Should Mewis continue her fantastic performances (there is no current evidence to suggest she’s slowing down) and add some more trophies to her collection, the “best in the world” title could become glued to her name. 

For more FAWSL coverage, check out The Soccer Show, a first-of-its-kind, highlights-driven program brought to you by JWS and ATA Football. 

The final quarter of the FA Women’s Super League season is officially underway, and what was once a four-team title race now looks to be Chelsea’s to lose.

While the Blues are only two points ahead of second-place Manchester City, there’s only so many games left for any team to close the gap.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And with six gameweeks left, these are the three teams who have a shot to overtake Chelsea and become the FAWSL 2020/2021 Champions.


Manchester City are right on Chelsea’s heels with 39 points. City started off the season very poorly, dropping points in four of their first nine matches, as it seemed like Gareth Taylor was still learning how to manage his squad. City especially struggled defensively in the beginning, and they were unable to see out matches.

A resurgence during the holiday season saw them take advantage of their Manchester rivals’ poor form and leap ahead of them in the table, while the January signing of USWNT star Abby Dahlkemper helped strengthen their defensive fragilities.

They’ve now won nine league games in a row, dating back to December 6th, during which they’ve scored 33 goals and only conceded three.

While those early losses could come back to haunt them, if any team is catching Chelsea and beating them to the title, it’s Manchester City, especially given the form they’re in. The biggest game remaining on the FAWSL calendar is a clash between the two on April 25th at the Academy Stadium in Manchester. Those 90 minutes may very well decide this year’s race.


Manchester United are currently in third with 35 points. The team was not expected to compete for the title this year, having only been promoted from the Championship following the 2018/2019 season. And yet, their current standing may ring as a disappointment to the United faithful, given that they were top of the league only a few short months ago.

The importance of Christen Press and Tobin Heath signings cannot be overstated. The two USWNT stars came with a wealth of experience, but also the pressure to deliver for United.

And until the New Year, they did just that. Going into their match against Chelsea on January 17th, United were unbeaten in the league, with eight wins and two draws. Their loss to Chelsea that day started a spiral that saw them slip first from the top and then into third.

Heath’s injury alone was enough to derail the club. When you add in injuries to key players like Leah Galton, Alessia Russo, and Lauren James, it’s hard to fault United for faltering as they have.

Casey Stoney has maintained that because United is such a new team, her goal for the season isn’t to win the title but to qualify for the Champions League. That being said, the team will likely still feel disappointed that they let a real shot at the title slip away.


Arsenal are in fourth with 29 points, and even though they have played one less match than the other three teams, it’s unlikely that they’ll be crowned champions this season.

Crazier things have happened, of course, and anything may seem possible for such a star-studded squad, which counts Vivianne Miedema, Caitlin Foord, and Daniëlle van de Donk among their starting XI.

Arsenal have had one major problem this season, and it’s that they have not played well against their major competition at the top of the table. So far, Arsenal have played five matches against the three teams they are competing against for the title—Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City. They’ve dropped points in all five matches.

In these matches, Arsenal have struggled to match their opponents’ intensity, a reversal of fate for a team who, under Joe Montemurro, have usually been the side pressing their opponents high up the pitch. This season, they’ve struggled to keep up the energy in the second half, allowing teams to pin them back, which has created more opportunities for them to concede and fewer for them to get the ball forward.

It’s been a problem since the beginning of the season, and yet Montemurro has been unable to find a solution.

Arsenal’s next match is against Manchester United. And while their form has picked up as of late (culminating in a 4-0 win over Birmingham City last weekend), even if they win, they’ll still be behind United in fourth.

At this point, Arsenal have a very little chance of winning the title. For them, the bigger goal has to be finishing in the top three and qualifying for the Champions League. Chelsea’s London rivals may not be a real cause for concern, but Arsenal still has every reason to try and salvage what has been a somewhat disappointing year.

An exciting weekend of action in the FA Women’s Super League led to some serious movement in the FAWSL table. Here’s how it all went down.


Last week, Brighton shocked the world by ending Chelsea’s 33-game unbeaten streak, coming from behind to beat FAWSL’s top team in their home stadium. The win in itself was a shock, but the fact that the week prior, Brighton had succumbed themselves to a loss against Bristol City, who are bottom of the league, made the victory against Chelsea all the more remarkable.

The challenge for Hope Powell’s side this week was to build off that performance and ensure their focus didn’t waver. Coming up against West Ham, Brighton knew the London side would be aggressive in their approach, given that they’re barely above the relegation spot and are currently fighting for their FAWSL lives.

Brighton scored early on and were thereafter happy to give West Ham time on the ball (West Ham had 54% possession, compared to Brighton’s 46%). They defended deep and stifled West Ham’s already out of form attack, limiting the visitors to zero shots on target.

Not the most exciting win for Brighton, but they moved into seventh place, pushing Tottenham Hotspur into eighth. They’ll have a chance to maintain that lead when they play Tottenham next week. West Ham, who are two points above Bristol City, have the daunting task of taking on Chelsea next.


Speaking of Chelsea, it’s clear that their loss against Brighton was a blip. The London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea is always a big deal, and this year was no different, with the match having major implications on the title race.

Despite this, it was quite an easy match for Chelsea, and it never felt like they had to get out of second gear, with Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder running the show during the 3-0 win. Alongside Sam Kerr, the duo has shone for Chelsea all season, with Emma Hayes clearly getting the best out of them.

On the other hand, Arsenal are in somewhat of disarray, and the back-to-back losses against Manchester City and Chelsea have more or less ended their title hopes. Vivianne Miedema is constantly being forced to play a deeper role because her teammates have struggled to get the ball to her feet, hindering the usually prolific striker.

Arsenal play Birmingham City next and are now in a race to secure third in order to ensure that they play Champions League football next season.


Manchester City may have been favored, but their 3-0 win over Man United still came as a shock to most. United, who were top of the table in early January, have not had a great run of form as of late, losing three out of their last five matches. Injuries have affected the squad, which leaves Stoney having to face the final stretch of the season without Tobin Heath, Leah Galton (who was injured against Manchester City), as well as Lauren James and Alessia Russo.

Man City, who have gone unbeaten in their last ten league games, are now five points behind Chelsea in second, though they do have a game in hand. They had a slow start to the season, and although Sam Mewis shone, defensive issues were a problem.

However, with Abby Dahlkemper transferring to the club in January, and with both Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood playing up to their potential, City are back in contention for the title. Next week, they visit Birmingham City, while United will hope to get back in form against Aston Villa.


After their win against Arsenal, Chelsea played Bristol City only a few days later, and while this was seen as a good chance to rest players, Hayes named an exceptionally strong starting XI for Chelsea’s match against Bristol, clearly not wanting a repeat of the match against Brighton.

Kirby, Harder, Kerr and Beth England all ended up on the score sheet, scoring five goals with ease past bottom-of-the-table Bristol.

Hayes is clearly thinking ahead to the end of the season, should the title come down to goal difference. With that in mind, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Chelsea let up or rotate their strongest XI much for the rest of the season. They take on West Ham next week, while Bristol City face Reading.


Both Reading and Everton started the season strong, Everton especially, but dipped by midseason.

Reading scored in the first-half, with a fantastic volley from Rachel Rowe, and it looked like they had all three points wrapped up. Everton waited to find their rhythm, but they did manage to score in the 77th minute, with a header from Nicoline Sorensen.

Both sides had second half chances for a winner, but it wasn’t meant to be, with the sides remaining in fifth and sixth respectively, both on 19 points, and Everton only ahead on goal difference. Reading will hope for an easy match against their next opponents Bristol City, while Everton will be in London next week for their match against Tottenham.