We’re back with a roundup of week two of the FAWSL January 2021 transfer window. If you missed out on the biggest deals made during the first week of the window, catch them all here.

Here’s what FAWSL clubs have been up to in the meantime.



Birmingham’s first piece of business saw them sign 23-year-old Veatriki Sarri from Championship side Sheffield United.

Sarri has played for Sheffiled United since 2018. When she first joined the club, she was managed by Birmingham’s current manager, Carla Ward. The pair reuniting will mean that Sarri already knows Ward’s preferred management style, and the expectations she has for players.

Birmingham currently sit 7th in the table, with nine points, a massive improvement on last season, where they finished the season in 11th place with seven points, a mere point above Liverpool who were relegated to the Championship.

Defensively, Birmingham are quite solid — they’ve only let in 13 goals this season, which puts them in fifth place for goals against after Chelsea (five), Arsenal (eight), Manchester United (nine), and Manchester City (nine). Despite being ahead of them in the table, both Reading and Everton have conceded more goals, 15 and 20 respectively.

Offensively however, Birmingham have only netted nine goals this season, which puts them in ninth place in terms of goals scored in the league. Sarri coming in gives them an extra offensive player that could turn close games into wins or draws, earning them a few extra points as they look to break into the top half of the fixture.


So far, Tottenham Hotspur have made two signings, the first being Alanna Kennedy. Kennedy has already been at Tottenham since August of 2020, having decided to go on loan from the Orlando Pride due to the fact that the team couldn’t play because of COVID-19.

However, in November of 2020, Racing Louisville FC selected Kennedy during the NWSL expansion draft with their sixth overall pick. Because her contract with the NWSL expired in December of 2020, Kennedy was free to sign a permanent deal with Tottenham, making it unclear when, or if, she’ll return to America.

The second transfer window signing for Tottenham Hotspur was Shelina Zadorsky. Zadorsky’s situation is similar to Kennedy’s — she came to the UK after having not been able to play for Orlando due to COVID-19, and now has also signed a permanent deal with Tottenham.

Both Kennedy and Zadorsky have been crucial for Tottenham this season. Kennedy has featured in all nine of Tottenham’s league games as a starting defender, and Zadorsky has featured in eight. Both have been bright spots all season, even in the early days when Tottenham were struggling.

As mainstays on their respective national teams (Australia and Canada), Kennedy and Zadorsky bring in a wealth of experience that will continue to be crucial to Tottenham under the new management of Rehanne Skinner, especially after the recent departure of Alex Morgan.


Tottenham were not the only side with plans to sign permanent deals to their loanee players, with West Ham also confirming that Emily van Egmond signed a permanent contract. A member of Australia’s national team, van Egmond joined Melbourne City on loan when the Orlando Pride were unable to continue with their season, winning two trophies in Australia before joining West Ham on loan.

In her nine league appearances with the club, she’s scored three goals, becoming a crucial part of West Ham’s midfield. The club signing her on a permanent deal will definitely bolster their hopes that they can improve on their current 10th place. While they are unlikely to be relegated (Bristol City only have two points!), they were very much in the relegation battle at the beginning of the season. Signings like Van Egmond will help them bolster their squad and allow them to be more competitive in following seasons.

The FAWSL is back this Sunday, with a critical match between Manchester United and Chelsea, the top two teams in the league. The transfer window likewise remains open, so stay tuned for next week’s roundup of the league’s biggest moves.

The Football Association is under fire mere days after the second half of the season began due to lack of communication and consistency surrounding COVID-19 protocols. The FA is now facing quite a bit of criticism, and clubs and fans are awaiting answers.

It started when Arsenal confirmed that one of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 after three of their players took a trip to Dubai, UAE during the holiday break. According to the club, they were not aware that their players were traveling. Still, after an investigation by the club, Arsenal concluded that the trip was made for ‘business’ reasons, which means that the players will face no punishment.

Manchester City face similar problems as four of their players who also decided to take a trip to Dubai contacted COVID-19. Unlike Arsenal, the players apparently did inform the club prior to traveling. The club sanctioned the trip because at the time Manchester was a Tier 3 zone (Very High Alert zone), not a Tier 4 zone (Stay at Home zone).

Because of these turn of events, both Arsenal and Manchester City requested from the FA that they postpone their upcoming fixtures against Aston Villa and West Ham respectively, with City also asking their tie against Chelsea in the FAWSL League Cup be delayed as well. Both clubs informed the FA that they would be unable to field 14 players since they have players who did not travel isolating as a precaution.

According to The Times, more than ten players from the WSL (including the seven from Manchester City and Arsenal) travelled to Dubai for a holiday. Manchester United’s manager, Casey Stoney, confirmed that players from her team were permitted to go on the trip, but apologized for allowing them to travel.

The FA postponed Arsenal’s match against Aston Villa (despite Villa appealing the decision for the game to be called off — they now have had three games postponed due to COVID) as well as Manchester City’s two matches against Chelsea and West Ham. They’ve also postponed Manchester United’s match against Everton due to Everton not being able to field 14 players because of positive COVID tests and an abundance of injuries. This makes it all the more confusing when manager Willie Kirk confirmed that all of Everton’s latest round of testing came back negative.

That being said, the FA has appeared wildly inconsistent, with Birmingham City’s request to postpone their match against Tottenham this Sunday because they only have ten match-fit players denied.

Birmingham have one positive case, the same as Arsenal, but because they have a smaller squad than other teams, and are suffering an injury crisis, they are unable to even field a starting XI. Despite the FA denying the request, the match was called off, and the outcome of it will be determined by an independent tribunal.

Yes, Birmingham having a smaller squad is not the FA’s fault, but the club does not have the funds to strengthen its ranks like some of its counterparts in the league. And now they’re being punished for it, as the FA will not be rescheduling the fixture. The decision is hardly consistent with the decision made for the Manchester United vs Everton fixture given that Everton’s situation is not dissimilar to Birmingham’s.

With all these postponements, many are wondering why Birmingham have not been given the same courtesy, and why this situation was not handled the same back in November when Bristol City had five players test positive for COVID. The FA also denied their request to postpone the match, and Bristol were forced to play several academy players in their 8-1 loss against Manchester City.

Bristol have asked the FA for clarification about their rulings regarding what qualifies an outbreak within a club as early in the season; the FA informed clubs that if a team were unable to field a squad of 14 players, they would be granted permission to postpone the match — a luxury that Bristol City were denied in November. Their manager, Tanya Oxtoby, reiterated that she was not pleased, stating that the club “asked for clarification from the FA around the 14 player rule and what that looks like because we were given 90 minutes to find our players before we had to travel up to Manchester City [back in November]. The timing of the [FA’s] announcement and the amount of time clubs would have had to find 14 players from academies, have them registered and tested probably is the bit we’re looking for clarification on.”

Oxtoby has every right to feel frustrated when the FA refuses to be transparent about why “bigger’ clubs are getting special treatment, especially since the clubs getting favour had players who acted incredibly irresponsibly by travelling over the break. Although Arsenal claim that the trip was for “business”, that’s hard to believe, given that the players’ job, the “business” they should actually be handling, requires they are healthy and available for matches in the UK. Not to mention, several players posted pictures on Instagram of beaches and parties during their time in Dubai.

Furthermore, it seems unlikely that clubs who only had a few players go to Dubai are not able to field a squad of 14. It then becomes a question as to whether the clubs just do not want to play the match without their best players. With the clubs having an out by the FA postponing matches rather than making the clubs forfeit and awarding the opponents with the win, and both the FA and the clubs letting off their players for acting irresponsible, Oxtoby is right to call out the apparent favoritism.

And she’s not the only one. After the FA’s decision, fans and reporters took to Twitter to voice their frustrations, using the hashtag #DubaiGate to criticize those who travelled.

Several FAWSL players also took to Twitter to voice their frustration with the decisions. Chelsea players Fran Kirby, Bethany England, and Carly Telford were clearly agitated with their match against City being postponed, with Kirby highlighting that their already packed schedule will give the FA little room to fit the game in down the line.

Reading’s Emma Mitchell was a bit more direct in voicing her frustrations on Twitter, tagging the FA directly regarding the Arsenal match being postponed came out. West Ham’s Gilly Flaherty stated that women footballers had worked too hard to be recognized as professionals to throw it away by not remaining humble.

The FA needs to step up and communicate to clubs and players what the proper procedure is for all teams, ensuring that the rule is applied equally to all.

And there needs to come a point where these clubs, regardless of how big they are or how successful they’ve been in the past, must be punished with points and wins being awarded to their opponents if they continue to act irresponsibly while failing to foresee to see the consequences of their actions.

Rachel Corsie is a professional soccer player currently playing for Birmingham City FC in the FAWSL while on loan from the Utah Royals in the NWSL. She is also the captain of the Scotland national team.

Are you in lockdown right now? 

Yeah, supposedly, although I would say that it’s fairly loose right now. It’s strange. As footballers, the biggest thing to take from it is that you have a different moral responsibility than the general public. I think there’s a lot of people still bending the rules a little bit. We need to be a little more cautious; If we bend the rules, we’re probably scrutinized more heavily.

I know you said you have to be more careful, but how else does the lockdown impact training and games? Do you have to do more testing or what does that look like?

They have a fairly comprehensive testing regime across the league. You’re tested typically once a week, but that will be increased if you have more than one game a week. It really ensures that people are following the rest of the protocols. I think there’s more work done behind the scenes that we don’t see, because a lot of the clubs now are affiliated with their men’s team, and you need to be careful. With teams overlapping, arriving at the same time using the same facilities, you need to make sure you come in through different entrances and don’t overlap. As players, we probably don’t quite see the full extent of everything being rolled out. I think a lot of work has gone on to make sure that we can continue.

There’s been a few positive tests, but if you think of how many tests have actually been done, there’s been a really low percentage of cases within the game. It’s a privilege to keep on being able to play. Also the wider community, I think, enjoys being able to watch some kind of sport. We’ve grown our audience a bit, because I think people just love watching sports. If there’s live sports on, then they’re going to probably turn it on. I think we need to capitalize on that, but also remember that we have a responsibility to make sure it keeps happening.

That makes sense. You signed with Birmingham City a few months back on loan from Utah. What went into that decision?

I came back [to the US] for the season and we had the Challenge Cup, which was great.

However, at the end of that, I was excited to come home. I’m not someone who’s typically a home person — I’ve played in the U.S. for five and a half years. I’ve lived away from home for 10 years. However, how everything was playing out… the virus and just everyone’s health…. I don’t know, it was just different. So as the Challenge Cup finished, I was looking to spend some time at home. It happened around the same time that they weren’t quite sure how the NWSL was going to use the next couple of months and what game schedules would look like.

What I did know was I was going to have national team games. I was very conscious that I needed to be in an environment that offered competitiveness in both training and game capacity. It was quite clear that while there might be some opportunity for that in the U.S., there wasn’t going to be a lot. I was quite keen to explore options in Europe, particularly in England, because I know a lot of players here and it’s close to home. But it all happened very last minute.

And how has the transition been for the past few months both on and off the field?

Honestly, I hate that whole process. I hate the stress of new loans, new clubs, and change. I’m a real routine person. I know what I like. But on the whole, it’s been pretty smooth. I’m probably fortunate in that I was able to come over quite quickly and find somewhere to stay.

There’s three other Scottish players playing for Birmingham at the moment. So there’s always that little bit of comfort there when you have people who are from the same place that you’re from. I’ve played in youth national teams with Christie Murray, who’s the captain of Birmingham at the moment, since I was 15, 16 years old. When you’ve known someone for almost half your lifetime, then that’s obviously something that can be really comforting.

I think football-wise, I was quite comfortable moving into this environment — knowing the level, the standards, and the type of football that’s played here. I think I was less concerned by that and more apprehensive for the general change in life.

How would you compare the playing style versus the NWSL?

It’s definitely a lot quicker in the U.S. I’m always reluctant to say that, because when you say that people just think, “Oh, the American style is just all about physicality and all about being fast and fit.” I think that’s a disservice to the American style, because I think there’s also some of the most talented technical footballers playing in the NWSL.

I just think that as a whole, the game over there is quicker. Speed of play is definitely quicker. On top of that, in the U.S. you also have the heat in a lot of places. So physically, I think there’s just a much greater challenge in the U.S.

Over here, I think, there’s probably a little bit more analysis done over the tactical side of the game. But again, I don’t want that to sound like it’s not done in the U.S., because there’s certainly a huge component of the game and the NWSL that’s very, very tactical, and there’s teams that are very effective both in possession and out of possession. I just think the biggest difference is that speed of play and the physical demands.

We’ve seen other NWSL players and specifically other Americans going on loan to European teams over the past few months. What do you think that means for FAWSL? 

It’s hard to say. A lot of people look at it and try to generalize: They try to say the league is growing because of it. But I think everyone has gone for different circumstances. I’ve gone for my reasons. It is definitely a reflection that the league is competitive, but I think the league should naturally adopt the fact that it’s growing. I think the growth of the game will come from the continued infrastructure that comes within football and from the FA to make sure that the game grows in the right direction. A lot of things will be impacted more by building a framework that allows the game to grow, instead of just having superstar names.

Do you have any specific personal goals for this season with Birmingham?

I want to come here and perform. I’ve come to a club that is considered one of the smaller clubs, and that puts a different pressure on your game. I’ve enjoyed that. So far, it’s been a really positive experience.

We had a really good month in October and had some great results. That really lifted up everyone. That was just such a powerful message to see and to be part of. In sports, there’s these kinds of moments and roller-coasters — up and downs. I think there’s going to be some of that while I’ll be here, but it’s really powerful to see those big moments with a number of players who are really together and just are so desperate to fight for one another. I just think it’s just a unique kind of challenge.

We’ll have some huge national team games coming up. We had a bit of a, you could say, poor result against Finland last month. I know that we feel disappointed by that, but we have the opportunity to put that right in the next window. We definitely want to qualify for the Euros again. We don’t want it to be a one-off and a different expectation on the group. I think that’s what is expected of Scotland now. The men qualified already and that brought back a lot of emotions. It’s something that just makes you really proud to be Scottish. So that’s another huge goal for the year.