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FAWSL Table Shakeup: Week 15 Review

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.

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Other former players contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

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