Tottenham Hotspur forward Chioma Ubogagu has been suspended for nine months due to a doping violation caused by her acne medication.

The 29-year-old former Houston Dash, Orlando Pride and Real Madrid forward tested positive for spironolactone, a banned diuretic, last October. She admitted to taking the drug as part of a prescription, but she had not known it was a banned substance.

The medication was prescribed to Ubogagu while she played in the United States, where the substance is not banned. While she applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption after realizing the medication was banned, the TUE was rejected because she did not apply before beginning the medication.

She was provisionally suspended by the English Football Association on Jan. 18.

“I am so sorry to my teammates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch. The Club has been fully supportive throughout this entire process, and I am so appreciative of all their help,” Ubogagu said in a statement.

“I want to make clear that the medication had no performance-enhancing effects for me, but I still made the mistake of not being as diligent as possible, and as a result I am unable to play the game I love until I serve my suspension,” Ubogagu continued. “While my dermatologist is aware of my profession, it is also my responsibility to know more about the medications I am prescribed.”

Ubogagu joined Tottenham last year from Real Madrid. She previously spent time in the NWSL with both the Dash and the Pride. She also has played for the English national team, and before that she won the 2012 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup with the USWNT U20 team. She also played for the United States’ U23 and U18 teams.

Her suspension will run through October. In a statement, UK Anti-Doping said the FA’s regulatory commission recognized that the consumption of the substance was not deliberate but that “it also recognized that she took no steps to check if the medication contained banned substances.”

“My advice to all athletes out there is to check everything. Whether it’s skin treatment or cough medicine or whatever. YOU are responsible for what goes into YOUR body,” Ubogagu wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune. “You might know in your heart that you’re not a cheat, but you may still end up with a ban the same as someone who is. The system is just that severe, so you need to be extra careful.”

The FAWSL may be on hold for a couple of weeks while players are away on international duty, but that doesn’t mean clubs have been shy about trying to improve before the second half of the season begins. Two have made major managerial decisions that are sure to have an impact on how the rest of the year unfolds.

West Ham United announced early on November 19th that head coach Matt Beard would be leaving the club, a decision that has been publicly disclosed as mutual.

Later that day, Tottenham Hotspur announced that co-managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros have been released of their duties with immediate effect.

Beard has had an abundance of FAWSL experience, to say the least. He was Chelsea’s very first manager when they became a part of the FAWSL back in 2011, having been their manager for a year prior when the club was a part of the FA Premier League National Division. Once the team joined the FAWSL, Beard was a great success both in the league and in the cup competitions. He led Chelsea to its first-ever FA Cup Final in 2012, but after losing the final to Birmingham, he resigned.

A month later, he joined his next FAWSL team — Liverpool. Beard was at the helm of the club when massive changes were made to the team both on the pitch (big, high-profile signings were made after the club finished bottom of the table), and off the pitch (Liverpool became the first English club to offer all their players full-time, professional contracts). These changes lead to Liverpool’s first FAWSL title in 2013, and a second in 2014.

Beard left Liverpool in 2015, and after a short stint with the now-defunct NWSL team the Boston Breakers and a break from managing, Beard returned to the FAWSL to manage West Ham in 2018. Beard managed another FA Cup final appearance with his new club back in 2019. In his two full seasons at the club, Beard managed to finish in 7th and 8th place respectively.

However this season, West Ham are in 9th place and are four points behind 8th place Brighton & Hove Albion.

Beard is a fantastic coach — there is no doubt about it. But it has not seemed to be clicking for him at West Ham as of late. The team is massively underperforming and has not been consistent in their performances since at least the beginning of 2020.

West Ham have not announced a replacement yet, and it’ll be interesting to see who they bring in. Beard is one of the biggest names in women’s football, and the club will be hoping to bring in someone with a similar pedigree who can re-energize the squad. As of right now, goalkeeping coach Billy Steward and first-team coach Paul McHugh will act as interim coaches until a permanent replacement is announced.

Karen Hills has been at Tottenham Hotspur for over a decade, taking over as head coach in 2009. Juan Amoros joined the club in 2011 as co-head coach. The two were pivotal in bringing the club up from the amateur leagues to the FAWSL, having won the Championship play-offs in the 2016/17 season, and securing a promotion spot to the FAWSL in 2019. They also won the FA Women’s National League Cup back to back in 2016 and 2017.

Last season, during their first year in the FAWSL, Tottenham Hotspur finished in 7th place — a strong finish for a newly-promoted side. However, this season, Tottenham have yet to win a match in the league as they currently sit in 11th place with three points. Hills and Amoros’ sacking makes a lot of sense — the Spurs have a real chance of being relegated this season, and something must change if they are to avoid dropping down.

Unlike West Ham, the Spurs have a replacement lined up. They announced later on Thursday that Rehanne Skinner will take charge at the club on a contract through the 2022/2023 season.

Skinner will leave her role as England’s assistant coach, where she worked alongside Phil Neville starting in September of this year. Prior to that, she was head coach of England’s U21 team. She also previously worked with Tottenham’s North London rivals Arsenal, where she was part of the coaching staff that won six trophies, including two FAWSL titles.

It is clear that Tottenham have been working on this appointment for a while, with it being announced mere hours after the sacking of the previous managers. It’s no question that Amoros and especially Hills have cemented themselves in Tottenham’s legacy book, but it’s also clear that a fresh change is needed at the club if they want to build on last year’s 7th place finish and avoid relegation.

The 2020 summer transfer window saw an abundance of American players join the Women’s Super League for the 2020/21 season.

Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle joined Manchester City, while their USWNT teammates Tobin Heath and Christen Press joined rival Manchester United. All four signings were met with great enthusiasm from fans, and all four players certainly impressed thus far, with Mewis and Lavelle leading Man. City to a Women’s FA Cup over the weekend.

But the most surprising signing of them all came on deadline day, when Tottenham Hotspur announced that Alex Morgan would be coming over from the Orlando Pride, on a contract that runs through the end of the calendar year and which gives Morgan the option to sign an extension until the end of the season.

Morgan got her first 20 minutes for the club this past weekend after a small injury set back her debut. Prior to that, Morgan had not yet made an appearance for Tottenham. In fact, she hadn’t played a competitive match in over a year, her last being the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup against the Netherlands back in July of 2019. After the final, an injury sidelined her, and in October 2019, she announced that she was pregnant, giving birth in May 2020, and taking maternity leave after.

In a recent interview, Morgan has stated that she is unsure as to whether she will stay in North London past the holidays, stating that it “depends on COVID, it depends on the NWSL” and that she is taking it week by week.

It takes time to regain full match fitness after even a minor injury, let alone giving birth, and the Spurs obviously were aware of Morgan’s situation, knowing that she wouldn’t be fit to start the season when they chose to sign her. But with the team struggling as they have to start the season, Morgan’s return to play can’t come soon enough. While one player alone can’t turn around a campaign, the Spurs will need someone with Morgan’s talent if they want to come close to achieving their goals for the season.



To say that Tottenham has struggled this season is an understatement. Five games into the season, and the Spurs sit ninth in the table with one draw and four losses; they’re only two spots above the relegation zone, only being ahead of West Ham on goal difference.

Their last match was a blowout 6-1 loss to North London rival Arsenal, who currently sits atop the table.

One of the main reasons Tottenham has struggled this season, specifically when it comes to scoring goals, is the fact that their 4-2-3-1 formation leaves whoever is playing in that striker position very isolated up top. The forward attacking players (the wingers, and the attacking midfielder) only contribute to the isolation of the striker whenver they struggle to transition from defense to attack.

So far this season, Tottenham has spent a lot of time without the ball. They have averaged 43.9% possession in league games so far, with their lowest possession game (32.71%) coming in their loss to Arsenal and their highest (52.68%) in a draw against West Ham.

Because they see so little of the ball, every attack for the Spurs must count; and when players lag in their transition from defense to attack, they struggle to make runs in behind, provide defense-splitting passes, and penetrate the opposition’s backlines. With only three goals scored this season, it’s clear that something needs to change.



It almost feels like Morgan’s skillset was specifically catered to fix the Spurs’ attacking problems. The USWNT star has experience playing as the main focal point in attack, for both club and country, and she knows how to position herself not to be isolated on the pitch. Coming into the lineup, Morgan should encourage more link-up play, allowing for better penetration of the defense. Her goal-scoring rate speaks for itself with 52 goals in 122 club appearances across her career. Morgan, at her best, will provide an immediate boost to the Spurs attack.

The question is whether Morgan will be at her best, and then, whether she chooses to stay in England past the New Year. Morgan has hinted that her debut could be any weekend, but in terms of whether she’ll stick with the club, it’s anyone’s guess. Like the rest of the world, Morgan is taking things week by week, meaning we likely won’t know her plans until much later this year.


This is only Tottenham’s second season in the top division, but it’s clear that they are an ambitious club. Signing Alex Morgan was a statement; despite being new to the league, they want to compete with the best teams at the top of the table for silverware. If Morgan returns to form and then decides to stay through the end of the season, it’ll justify the team’s decision to sign her while doubling as a sign of better things to come.