Phallon Tullis-Joyce has been hard at work with Manchester United after making the move to the English club earlier this year.

Tullis-Joyce started 2023 as the starting goalkeeper for OL Reign before making the move to the Women’s Super League. Now she’s the backup for England starter Mary Earps, who was named the best goalkeeper at the 2023 World Cup in August. Earps, though, could be on the move at conclusion of the 2023-24 WSL season, which would put Tullis-Joyce in line for the starting spot.

As Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner told Chris Brookes, he’s been happy with how the 27-year-old American (and U.S. women’s national team prospect) has adapted since her move from the NWSL.

“She’s having to adapt to shorter passes, medium, and obviously some longer-range to make sure we mix up the opponent – but I think it’s about the speed in which she does that,” Skinner said, noting the increased ball possession in the English compared to the U.S. league.

Skinner is no stranger to the NWSL, having coached the Orlando Pride from 2019 to 2021.

“I’ve been to the NWSL and there’s a lot of quality there, a lot of individual dribbling quality, a lot of high-speed energy,” he continued, noting that the WSL is “a little bit more tactically designed,” which Tullis-Joyce is learning.

Even still, it isn’t taking much for her to adjust. Skinner likened the process to “sharpening her tools.”

“I’ll be very clear: she has all of the foundations,” Skinner said. “I’ve never seen a goalkeeper make the saves that she makes, honestly. … She’s so athletic. I think it’s just making sure she can make those in big moments.

“She’s such an astute learner, she literally takes a notepad into everywhere she goes. So, you’re going to see a real character that, I think after this season once she’s had these kind of games, I think you’re going to see a world-class goalkeeper. I really do. She’s got all of the qualities she needs.”

The problem with picking a starting goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national team is this: There might not be a deeper or more talented position pool from which to choose.

Alyssa Naeher has held the starting spot since before the 2019 World Cup. But the 35-year-old was left off the national team roster for the last camp of 2023 in favor of giving other goalkeepers some looks. That’s not unusual and is in fact a good sign for the team, which will have the opportunity to evaluate its options as the coaching staff plans for the 2024 Olympics.

Still, Naeher’s absence does beg the question: Who is the future at goalkeeper? Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at who could be next in line.

One note: Left off this list is Aubrey Kingsbury. While the Washington Spirit starter has proved herself as a viable USWNT backup, the 32-year-old is only three years younger than Naeher. If the national team is looking for its next long-term starter, it is a little more difficult to make the argument for Kingsbury over the names on this list.

Casey Murphy

Murphy, 27, already is an experienced USWNT backup who now has one World Cup under her belt. She also has experience starting for the USWNT, having made 16 total appearances in goal, 12 of which were shutouts. She has not conceded a goal in her three starts so far in 2023.

On top of being a reliable option for the USWNT, Murphy also is the starting goalkeeper for the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage. She was among the league’s best goalkeepers in 2023, conceding just 20 goals in 20 starts and holding a 74.2 save percentage, good for seventh in the league. Her nine clean sheets in 2023 ranked first in the NWSL, her second time topping the league in clean sheets in three years.

Murphy also has some international experience, having played for Montpellier in France’s Division 1 Féminine. Murphy’s international experience, combined with her standout performance in club play, make her a compelling candidate for taking over the starting spot when Naeher eventually steps away.

(Charlotte Tattersall/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Phallon Tullis-Joyce

If there is one player who could fit under the new-look USWNT squad led by new coach Emma Hayes, it’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce.

The 27-year-old departed OL Reign in 2023 for Manchester United, which is also home to World Cup Golden Glove winner Mary Earps. Earps is rumored to be departing Manchester United at the end of the Women’s Super League season, which could set up Tullis-Joyce to step into the starting spot for one of England’s best clubs.

Tullis-Joyce already is a top-notch keeper, having finished her time with OL Reign with 47 appearances, 135 saves and 15 clean sheets. She holds the club record for most clean sheets in regular season play with 13, and she ranks third on the club’s all-time regular-season saves list (110). In 2022, she ranked first in the NWSL in clean sheets (9), save percentage (81.3) and goals against per 90 (0.86). She also ranked fourth in saves and third in clean sheet percentage.

While she struggled to start the 2023 NW season relative to her 2022 performance, the move to Manchester United could prove beneficial for Tullis-Joyce and for the USWNT. Under Hayes, it’s likely that international club experience will be valued highly. After all, much has been made about the changes in the international game and how the USWNT’s players need to change with it.

A goalkeeper who has experience playing against some of the world’s best players in Europe (and keep in mind Tullis-Joyce also played professionally in France) could prove vital, especially as the 27-year-old takes this season to play under one of the best goalkeepers in the game in Earps.

(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Jane Campbell

The 2023 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Campbell has been playing her way back into consideration for the USWNT. And she was given that chance this month, as she was named to the national team roster for the December friendlies against China.

Campbell’s NWSL season was an outstanding one for the Houston Dash, with the keeper making a league-leading 93 saves and recording eight shutouts all while boasting an astounding 0.83 goals against average in 22 games played. She also conceded the fewest goals (18), even though she ranked third in the league in shots on target faced (108).

With Campbell in net, the Dash came within one goal of the NWSL record for fewest goals conceded in a season. (The record of 17 was set by the North Carolina Courage in 2017 and matched by the Portland Thorns in 2021.)

Campbell has spent time in USWNT camp before, having bounced in and out of senior national team camp since 2013 and making her international debut in 2017. She also spent extensive time in U.S. Soccer’s youth development system. The 28-year-old has made seven international appearances, and she was on the USWNT roster for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where the team won bronze.

As a player in which the USWNT already has invested time, if Campbell continues the trend she started in 2023, she could find her way not just back onto the national team but into the starting spot.

(Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports)

Claudia Dickey

At just 23 years old, Claudia Dickey very well may be the goalkeeper of the future for the USWNT. A former UNC Tar Heel who was the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NWSL draft, Dickey took over the OL Reign starting spot from Phallon Tullis-Joyce during the 2023 Challenge Cup. She made three starts in the Challenge Cup, recording 12 saves and not allowing a single goal.

She then started in the remaining six games of the season as Tullis-Joyce departed for Manchester United. In the playoffs, she helped lead the team to an appearance in the NWSL championship final, setting the club record for shutouts in the NWSL playoffs with two. She also became just the fifth NWSL goalkeeper to earn a shutout in her postseason debut.

“My thing with her is just how much she’s improved since taking over the Reign starting job midseason, and she’s particularly fearless coming off her line,” Just Women’s Sports writer Claire Watkins says. “So I like her intangibles. She’s young, so the rest can be coached.”

While Dickey is inexperienced, she’s shown bright spots with a club that boasted big USWNT names such as Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett. While still young, she will continue to develop under head coach Laura Harvey after signing a contract extension through 2025. By the time that the 2027 World Cup rolls around, she could at the very least warrant a look for the backup position – if not the starting spot.

Phallon Tullis-Joyce is headed to Manchester United.

The deal, first reported by Mail Sport’s Kathryn Batte, sends the OL Reign goalkeeper across the pond from the NWSL to the Women’s Super League. Tullis-Joyce commanded a transfer fee of close to $160,000, a record for a goalkeeper, Sounder at Heart reported.

“Today has been pure excitement for me,” Tullis-Joyce said in a news release. “Manchester United is such an historic club, that has already done so much in the women’s game. I’m so honored to get this opportunity.”

United are expected to retain England national team goalkeeper Mary Earps despite a record offer from Arsenal. Earps, who won the Golden Glove award at the 2023 World Cup, reportedly wanted to leave the club this summer. Her contract runs through the end of the 2023-24 season.

The signing of Tullis-Joyce, who has been the starting goalkeeper for OL Reign for the majority of the last two seasons but has been the backup in the team’s last two league games, gives United a replacement for Earps if she departs in 2024.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper is a big pickup for United, as she has been among the NWSL’s best at her position over the last two seasons and is in the conversation for the USWNT. Last season, she allowing 19 goals in 22 games for an average of 0.86 goals against per 90, which ranked first in the league. Her 81.3% save percentage and nine clean sheets last year also ranked first in the league.

This season, she ranked sixth in goals against average (1.07) and tenth in clean sheets with four before departing for Manchester United. She leaves OL Reign in the midst of the NWSL playoff race, with the Seattle-based club in fourth place with four matches remaining in the regular season.

“Phallon is someone who we value and has achieved quite a lot both on and off field during her time here,” OL Reign general manager Lesle Gallimore said in a news release. “We worked with Phallon and Manchester United to make sure all parties were satisfied with the move and once we got to an agreement, everything moved pretty quickly. We will be forever grateful for Phallon’s achievements with OL Reign and wish her all the best in the WSL.”

Tullis-Joyce has previous experience overseas, having played for Stade de Reims for two seasons in France’s Division 1 Féminine before joining OL Reign in 2021.

Women’s soccer continues its meteoric rise, with the Women’s FA Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium selling out for the first time ever.

Manchester United and Chelsea are set to face off on May 14 for the trophy, and they will do so in front of a crowd of more than 70,000 fans. 

The sellout is just the latest in a long line of record attendances for women’s soccer this season. For their Champions League semifinal match, Arsenal sold out Emirates Stadium for the first time ever. Earlier in the season, the Gunners attracted a Women’s Super League record crowd of 47,367 for the north London derby in September when they played Tottenham Hotspur.

While last season’s Champions League quarterfinal and semifinal games in Barcelona broke records, other clubs have seen massive crowds this season as well.

Wolfsburg’s semifinal against Arsenal – the first leg – featured more than 22,000 fans, while Roma’s game against Barcelona drew just shy of 40,000 people. In total, five of the WCL’s all-time top 10 crowds have come this season. 

Attendance for 10 WCL matches surpassed 20,000 fans this season. Just 17 had reached that number prior to this season.

These trends are exciting, particularly in a summer where the Women’s World Cup is set to break attendance records of its own: More than 750,000 tickets have been sold to the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, per FIFA. The tournament could break the attendance record set at the 2019 World Cup, which reached just over 1.1 million people.

Manchester United defeated Arsenal 1-0 on Wednesday, knocking them out of the Continental League Cup.

Forward Tobin Heath made her return from injury, starting on the bench before entering in the 67th minute.

Things were testy in the second half of the quarterfinal match, as Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall got into it with United striker Martha Thomas. Thomas had challenged Arsenal’s Beth Mead, resulting in a foul for which Thomas received a yellow card. Unhappy with the tackle, Eidevall stepped forward in his dugout and could be seen yelling at Thomas.

Both Eidevall and United manager Marc Skinner were cautioned following the incident.

According to The Athletic, the FA is reportedly satisfied that “relevant action was taken at the time” and as a result they will not take any further action.

A free kick by Alessia Russo broke the deadlock in the 85th minute, putting Manchester United up 1-0. They advance to the semifinals alongside Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The draw for the semifinals will take place on Thursday.

Orlando Pride head coach Marc Skinner is reportedly getting a new job.

According to reports, Skinner is on his way to Manchester United to take over the women’s coaching gig and replace Casey Stoney. Stoney was recently named head coach of San Diego’s NWSL team.

When asked about the alleged move, the Orlando Pride offered up “no comment on the situation.”

Skinner has been with the Pride since 2019 and is 9-12-22 in his time at the helm of Orlando.

The Pride have so far exceeded expectations in 2021 and are currently tied for third in the standings with 16 points. Dating back to the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, the franchise earlier matched a record-all-time unbeaten run of nine games, while forward Sydney Leroux has made a case for league MVP.

Casey Stoney is leaving Manchester United.

On Wednesday, the club announced that Stoney would be stepping down from her role as head coach at the end of the season. United finished fourth in this year’s WSL standings, narrowly pushing the team out of Champions League eligibility.

In a statement to the media, Stoney said coaching the club was an honor and that her decision to leave wasn’t easy. Stoney has been with United since 2018.

According to reporting done by The Athletic’s Meg Linehan, Stoney could be on the move — to southern California.

Sources indicate Stoney has been linked to the NWSL’s potential San Diego expansion team. The former Manchester United coach is said to be a favorite for Jill Ellis, who is attached to San Diego as the club’s sporting director.

As for Manchester United, John Murtough, the club’s Football Director, said the organization is still committed to the women’s team and building upon Stoney’s legacy.

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.

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. 

Scores from the latest weekend in the FAWSL:

  • West Ham 5, Reading 0
  • Chelsea 6, Birmingham City 0
  • Everton 3, Aston Villa 1
  • Man City 3, Tottenham 0
  • Arsenal 4, Bristol City 0
  • Brighton 1, Man Utd 0

The table as of today: 

  1. Chelsea (50 pts)
  2. Man City (48)
  3. Arsenal (38)
  4. Man Utd (38)
  5. Everton (31)
  6. Brighton (24)
  7. Reading (20)
  8. Tottenham (17)
  9. Birmingham City (13)
  10. West Ham (12)
  11. Bristol City (11)
  12. Aston Villa (10)

Of note: 

  • Manchester United have now lost three of their last five after leading the league for much of the season. The downslide may bring a sense of disappointment, but it’s still been an impressive sophomore season in the FAWSL.
  • Leicester City will move up to the FAWSL next season after securing a first-place finish in the second-tier Championship.
  • Birmingham’s players sent a letter to the club’s board last week detailing grievances with facilities, travel and budget restrictions. The FA is now looking into whether Birmingham City have breached the terms of their WSL license.

All eyes were on the FA Women’s Super League this Friday as the much-anticipated contest between Manchester United and Manchester City took place. The two squads went into the match neck-in-neck in the table, with Manchester United holding onto second place by a mere two points. Hot on their heels was City, who may have knocked “Big Three” squad Arsenal out of the title race last Sunday in a 2-1 win.

On Friday, Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Lucy Bronze, Lauren Hemp, and Caroline Weir, adding three points to leap the Reds in the standings.

With the win, City improves to 10-1-3, with only two points now separating them from first-place Chelsea.



After a purely defensive start to the first half, it was Manchester City that would draw first blood as they were awarded a corner kick in the 23rd minute of the match. As soon as the ball was lofted in, it was popped up into the air, and a scramble in the United box ensued. Amidst the chaos, a City player was able to redirect a header to the feet of Lucy Bronze, who used her first touch to bury a shot past United goalkeeper Mary Earps. The goal was Bronze’s second of the season, giving City a 1-0 edge over United.

Later, in the 38th minute, an attempted bicycle kick from Ellen White came dangerously close to giving City a 2-0 lead, but an excellent save from Mary Earps would deny the forward the scoring chance. Though United would avoid a two-goal deficit, an unfortunate injury would occur minutes later as Leah Galton was taken down in the midfield. In visible pain, Galton was helped off the field in what seemed like an injury to her ankle or lower leg. The loss of Galton comes as another significant blow to Manchester United’s FAWSL title hopes, as the squad is already without Tobin Heath for the foreseeable future.

Manchester City held their opponents to just three first-half shots, only one of which was on goal. Meanwhile, United’s defense sustained several attacks, with City getting off eight shots, two of which were on target. Despite this, City’s one-goal lead provided little to no sense of security given the offensive talents of United.

However, it was City that would enter the second half with guns blazing as Lauren Hemp played in a cross from the left flank, meeting Ellen White in stride. With her first touch, White fired off a shot on goal, but a diving save by Earps would render her scoreless for the second time during the match.

City would finally double their lead in the 71st minute when Chloe Kelly intercepted a clearance attempt by the United defense, cutting the ball to her left foot and taking a shot from distance. Earps made the initial save, but unfortunately for United, the ball deflected into the path of Lauren Hemp, who volleyed home City’s second goal of the match to provide a much-needed cushion.

United’s handful of opportunities came from none other than Christen Press, who was twice charged by City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck to maintain the clean sheet. In her first chance, Press beat a City defender just outside the eighteen, with Roebuck abandoning the net in an attempt to make the save. Before Roebuck could get in front of the ball, Press fired a shot that sailed above the crossbar and out of bounds.

The forward would find herself in a similar circumstance later in the match when a ball was played from midfield into her path. In just one touch, Press broke into the eighteen, and again Roebuck left the net to deny United a chance to cut into City’s lead. In an impressive feat, Roebuck was able to get in front of Press’s shot, deflecting the ball out of bounds.

To conclude an already-dazzling performance by Manchester City, Caroline Weir added her name to the scoresheet in the 84th minute, showcasing her impressive footwork to beat a City defender before lofting a shot just over the fingertips of Earps and into the back of the net. The goal was just another reminder of Weir’s composure and precision, talents that have made her quite the asset in City’s midfield as of late.

As the final whistle blew, City dealt a damaging blow to United’s hopes for a title, defeating the Reds 3-0 to continue their winning ways. Having dropped their last two contests, Casey Stoney and her squad will be desperate to remedy their lackluster showing in the attacking third should they want to remain at or near the top of the table.