FourFourTwo's FA Women's Super League Season Preview 2016!

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Reading Women

Reading Women

  • Manager: Kelly Chambers
  • Home Ground: Wycombe Wanderers FC
  • Last season: FAWSL 2 (1st, promoted)
  • Top signing: Mary Earps
  • Key player: Helen Ward

Promoted as champions from FA WSL 2, Reading are ready and raring to go in the top tier.

Though without pocket rocket Fran Kirby, who made the switch to Chelsea midway through last season, the Royals are quietly confident they can more than hold their own according to forward Melissa Fletcher.

“We want to make a name for ourselves this season,” says the Royals attacker. “It’s our first one in the top league, but we’re not going to rule ourselves out of achieving anything at this stage.”

Amber Stobbs, new to the FA WSL having studied and played in America for the last five years, is also looking forward to the challenge of the ever-developing women’s game in England: “It’s the first time I’ve played in England in six or seven years so I want to make a name for myself but I’m more of a team player. I want to make sure I’m performing well and helping my team as much as I can.

“It’s very different here; more technical and the speed of play is probably faster in a football way. In America it’s faster in an athletic way.

Amber Stobbs and Melissa Fletcher

Amber Stobbs and Melissa Fletcher

“The English game has got more physical and more athletic than it was when I was a youngster playing here. In America, you can get by not being that technical. In this league, I don’t think you can. It’s more of a football league.”

FFT prediction: 8th

Sunderland AFC Ladies

Sunderland AFC Ladies

  • Manager: Carlton Fairweather
  • Home Ground: Hetton Centre
  • Last season: 4th (20 points)
  • Top signing: Lucy Staniforth
  • Key player: Beth Mead

Sunderland took the league by storm in 2015, going from strength to strength after winning their opening fixture 2-1 away to league champions Liverpool.

Key to their success was young striker, Beth Mead. The 20-year-old Teesside University student bagged 12 goals in 14 league matches – a tally she’d like to surpass this season.

“I would like to score more goals, even though I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near what I did last season,” Mead admits. “I want to prove a point again – I don’t want to be a one-season wonder.”

Beth Mead scoring against Liverpool ladies last season

Beth Mead scoring against Liverpool ladies last season

The Black Cats will be looking to build on 2015’s showing and perhaps exceed expectations again.

I want to prove a point again - I don’t want to be a one season wonder

- Beth Mead

“We want to finish higher, maybe in the Champions League – it’s not impossible,” Mead beams enthusiastically. “We want to improve on everything we did. As a team and as individuals, I think everyone wants to develop and take the club further."

FFT prediction: 5th

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