Australia's W-League depleted of Matildas and American imports

For years, Australia's W-League was played in tandem with the NWSL.

The W-League, which operated during the Australian summer, provided an offseason home for Australian stars playing in the NWSL and Americans seeking more playing time. The money wasn't great but it did supplement their NWSL earnings, and chance to discover Australia was luring.

But most of the top Matildas, including Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Ellie Carpenter (Lyon) and Caitlin Foord (Arsenal), have moved to Europe.

The American contingent, which included 11 players in the 2020 semifinals in March, is down to less than half of the that across nine teams for the new season, which opened on Tuesday.

The drop-off in quality is concerning for Australia less than three years before it co-hosts the Women's World Cup with New Zealand.

The W-League can do nothing about losing Matildas from the NWSL to Europe's top teams but attracting Americans like Lauren Barnes, who won her fourth W-League title when Melbourne City beat Sydney FC, 1-0, in the 2020 Grand Final, has become problematic because of a change in the W-League's schedule from late October to late February to late December through April. NWSL teams usually open preseason at the beginning of March.

Melbourne City opened the new season on Tuesday against Brisbane Roar with only one American on the team, veteran Samantha Johnson, who did not play in the NWSL in 2020. Its squad was depleted with the loss of three players to WSL teams: Rebekah Stott (Brighton & Hove Albion), Lydia Williams (Arsenal) and Steph Catley (Arsenal)

Melbourne City's coach, Rado Vidosic, said the W-League's short season is a detriment to the league's growth.

“I think we need to bite the bullet, and need to go full-time," he told ABC News, "because the only way for these players to improve is to be full-time in a professional environment."
2 comments about "Australia's W-League depleted of Matildas and American imports".
  1. Michael Saunders, December 29, 2020 at 10:12 a.m.

    Another REALITY CHECK  in the world of WoSo Paul ..... 

    Göteborg FC just announced it is closing down its elite operations with immediate effect. This means that Sweden's best football team in 2020 withdraws from the Allsvenskan.

    Many point to the pandemic as the root cause.  I submit that the UEFA economic football model of unrestrained investment by the big elite established teams contributes greatly to the collateral damage in many countries as players seek to optimize their value elsewhere. Trust me, I am not blaming the players. Yet the negative side of that methodology is reflected in what occurred in Sweden. On the surface, people the world over support those teams on the men's side :Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barca, Juve, Bayern, Chelsea, PSG, etc. Yet it doesn't take long to realize that the system "locks" out some pretty good teams that do not have the wherewithal to invest to stay competitive. Point is the same system is now being applied to WoSo. Should it continue, it will not be too long before US players will find there way to those clubs in Europe, just as it has with Aussie players.  This will relegate the NWSL as a development league. That would be a tragedy.

  2. R2 Dad replied, December 29, 2020 at 1:19 p.m.

    I'd mentioned as much before, once it became clear the impact UEFA CL play would have on the ladies side. I like the idea of a more formal W league/NWSL tie-up as a counterbalance to Europe, but NWSL has a new president and the moment now seems to have passed. Pity, hope NWSL is still around in 5 years.  

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