Women's Super League 2019-20 season: Club-by-club guide

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur won promotion up to the WSL last season

The new Women’s Super League season is fast approaching, with new teams, new signings and new stadiums.

Can Arsenal defend their title, and will newly-promoted Manchester United and Tottenham flourish in their debut WSL campaigns or need to scrap to avoid relegation?

With two Champions League qualification spots up for grabs and one team to be relegated, 2019-20 promises intense battles at both ends of the table.

The WSL’s transfer window closes on Thursday, but with most clubs’ key business already completed, which squads are shaping up nicely?

Here, BBC Sport provides the lowdown on each of the 12, full-time sides competing in the largest WSL campaign to date…


2018-19 WSL finish: Champions

Women’s FA Cup: Fifth round (last 16)

WSL Continental League Cup: Runners-up

Players in: Manuela Zinsberger (goalkeeper, Bayern Munich), Fran Stenson (goalkeeper, Manchester City), Leonie Maier (defender, Bayern Munich), Jen Beattie (defender, Manchester City), Jill Roord (midfielder, Bayern Munich)

Players out: Sari van Veenendaal (goalkeeper, Atletico Madrid), Janni Arnth (defender, Fiorentina), Dominique Bloodworth (midfielder, Wolfsburg), Amelia Hazard (midfielder, London Bees), Lachante Paul (forward, Leicester City), Paige Bailey-Gayle (striker, Leicester City)

Home ground: Meadow Park, Borehamwood, at the home of men’s National League side Boreham Wood

Opening game: West Ham United (home) on Sunday, 8 September [14:30 BST]

Key fixtures: The Gunners travel to newly-promoted north London rivals Tottenham on 17 November at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, before 9 February’s reverse fixture

Player to watch: Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema was the WSL’s top scorer last term with 22 league goals and 10 assists in her 20 appearances

Manager: Joe Montemurro (Australian)

England 2019 World Cup players: Leah Williamson (defender), Beth Mead (forward)

Scotland 2019 World Cup players: Jen Beattie (defender), Kim Little (midfielder), Lisa Evans (forward)

Arsenal welcomed back England star Jordan Nobbs during pre-season, after a lengthy knee injury

Birmingham City

2018-19 WSL finish: Fourth

Women’s FA Cup: Fifth round (last 16)

WSL Continental League Cup: Quarter-finals

Players in: Adrienne Jordan (defender, Atalanta), Brianna Visalli (midfielder, West Ham), Claudia Walker (midfielder, Everton, after initial loan deal), Rebecca Holloway (midfielder, Nashville Rhythm), Lucy Whipp (attacking midfielder, St John’s University), Abbi Grant (forward, Anderlecht).

Players out: Aoife Mannion (defender, Manchester City), Meaghan Sargeant (defender, Bristol City), Paige Williams (defender, released), Hayley Ladd (midfielder, Manchester United), Marisa Ewers (midfielder, Aston Villa), Lucy Quinn (forward, Tottenham), Emma Follis (forward, Aston Villa), Shania Hayles (forward, Aston Villa), Ellen White (striker, Manchester City), Charlie Wellings (striker, Bristol City)

Home ground: The SportNation.bet Stadium, Solihull, at the home of men’s National League side Solihull Moors

Opening game: Everton (home) on Sunday, 8 September [14:00 BST]

Key fixtures: The Blues host defending champions Arsenal in their final home game on the penultimate weekend, before travelling to Manchester United on 16 May, the season’s final day

Player to watch: United States-born midfielder Brianna Visalli was a key part of the West Ham United side that reached May’s Women’s FA Cup final, before her move to the Blues this summer

Manager: Marta Tejedor (Spanish)

England 2019 World Cup player: Lucy Staniforth (midfielder)

Scotland 2019 World Cup player: Chloe Arthur (midfielder)

Birmingham captain Kerys Harrop has spent her entire career with the club

Brighton & Hove Albion

2018-19 WSL finish: Ninth

Women’s FA Cup: Fourth round (last 32)

WSL Continental League Cup: Quarter-finals

Players in: Megan Walsh (goalkeeper, Yeovil Town), Danique Kerkdijk (defender, Bristol City), Matilde Skovsen (defender, Aarhus), Lea La Garrec (midfielder, Guingamp)

Players out: Marie Hourihan (goalkeeper, Braga), Lucy Gillett (goalkeeper, Crystal Palace), Sophie Perry (defender, released), Chloe Peplow (midfielder, Tottenham).

Home ground: The People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley, at the home of men’s League Two side Crawley Town

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Opening game: Bristol City (away) at Ashton Gate Stadium

Key fixtures: The Seagulls’ first home game on 15 September sees them host Chelsea, while they finish the season at home to another potential title contender in Manchester City on 16 May

Player to watch: Goalkeeper Megan Walsh made more saves than any other WSL shot-stopper last term for Yeovil, impressing despite the Glovers’ relegation, before she joined Brighton in July

Manager: Hope Powell (English)

Hope Powell managed the England Women team for 15 years until 2013

Bristol City

2018-19 WSL finish: Sixth

Women’s FA Cup: Fifth round (last 16)

WSL Continental League Cup: Group stage

Players in: Meaghen Sargeant (defender, Birmingham City), Jasmine Matthews (defender, Liverpool), Vita van der Linden (midfielder, Ajax), Yana Daniels (forward, Liverpool), Ebony Salmon (striker, Manchester United), Charlie Wellings (striker, Birmingham City)

Players out: Alicia Johnson (defender, Sheffield United), Danique Kerkdijk (defender, Brighton), Lucy Graham (midfielder, Everton), Julie Biesmans (midfielder, PSV), Rosella Ayane (forward, Tottenham), Heather Payne (forward, released), Poppy Wilson (forward, London City Lionesses), Juliette Kemppi (forward, London City Lionesses)

Home ground: Stoke Gifford Stadium, Bristol, as well as their first home league game at Ashton Gate

Opening game: Brighton (home) on Saturday, 7 September [15:00 BST] at Ashton Gate

Key fixtures: The Robins finished just two points below fifth-placed Reading last term and they travel to face the Royals on 17 November

Player to watch: England youth international goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley impressed for the Robins last term and signed a two-year contract extension in May

Manager: Tanya Oxtoby (Australian)

Tanya Oxtoby took charge of Bristol City for the first time last term, impressing in her debut campaign


2018-19 WSL finish: Third

Women’s FA Cup: Semi-finals

WSL Continental League Cup: Semi-finals

Women’s Champions League: Semi-finals

Players in: Guro Reiten (forward, LSK Kvinner)

Players out: Hedig Lindahl (goalkeeper, Wolfsburg), Lizzie Durack (goalkeeper, retired), Ali Riley (defender, Bayern Munich), Molly Pike (midfielder, Everton), Jade Bailey (midfielder, Liverpool), Karen Carney (midfielder, retired)

Home ground: Kingsmeadow, at their shared home with men’s League One side AFC Wimbledon

Opening game: Tottenham (home) at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, 8 September [12:30 BST]

Key fixtures: Chelsea host defending champions Arsenal on 13 October, in one of the season’s first fixtures between two title rivals

Player to watch: Striker Beth England made her international debut for the Lionesses on 29 August and is tipped to have another strong season for the Blues

Manager: Emma Hayes (English)

England 2019 World Cup players: Carly Telford (goalkeeper), Millie Bright (defender), Fran Kirby (forward)

Scotland 2019 World Cup player: Erin Cuthbert (forward)

Chelsea will start their WSL season against Spurs at Stamford Bridge


2018-19 WSL finish: 10th

Women’s FA Cup: Fourth round (last 32)

WSL Continental League Cup: Group stage

Players in: Tinja-Riikka Korpela (goalkeeper, Valerenga), Kika van Es (defender, Ajax), Esme Morgan (defender, Manchester City), Maeva Clemaron (midfielder, FC Fleury), Lucy Graham (midfielder, Bristol City), Molly Pike (midfielder, Chelsea)

Players out: Becky Flaherty (goalkeeper, Sheffield United), Emma Brownlie (defender, released), Siri Worm (defender, Tottenham), Angharad James (midfielder, Reading), Dominique Bruinenberg (midfielder, PEC Zwolle), Claudia Walker (midfielder, Birmingham City, after initial loan), Olivia Chance (striker, released)

Home ground until 27 October: Merseyrail Community Stadium, Southport, at the home of men’s National League North club Southport

Home ground from 24 November: Walton Hall Park, Liverpool

Opening game: Birmingham City (away) on Sunday, 8 September [14:00 BST]

Key fixtures: Everton face Merseyside rivals Liverpool away on 17 November, before 9 February’s reverse fixture at the Toffees’ new home, Walton Hall Park

Player to watch: Midfielder Maeva Clemaron joined Everton on a two-year deal in July, after being part of the France squad that reached the World Cup quarter-finals

Manager: Willie Kirk (Scottish)

Everton’s Maeva Clemaron made her France debut against Germany in 2018’s SheBelieves Cup


2018-19 WSL finish: Eighth

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Women’s FA Cup: Quarter-finals

WSL Continental League Cup: Group stage

Players in: Becky Jane (defender, Reading), Jade Bailey (midfielder, Chelsea), Mel Lawley (winger, Manchester City)

Players out: Leandra Little (defender, Sheffield United), Jasmine Matthews (defender, Bristol City), Ellie Fletcher (defender, Sheffield United) Laura Coombs (midfielder, Manchester City), Yana Daniels (forward, Bristol City)

Home ground: Prenton Park, Birkenhead, at the home of men’s League One outfit Tranmere Rovers

Opening game: Reading (home) on Sunday, 8 September [14:00 BST]

Key fixtures: Liverpool go to newly-promoted Spurs in their second game of the season on 15 September, when both sides will be aiming to show they can keep clear of trouble this term

Player to watch: Striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk will hope for another strong campaign, having scored 10 league goals for the Reds last term

Manager: Vicky Jepson (English)

Scotland 2019 World Cup player: Christie Murray (midfielder)

Former Birmingham City winger Mel Lawley joined Liverpool from Man City in June

Manchester City

2018-19 WSL finish: Runners-up

Women’s FA Cup: Winners

WSL Continental League Cup: Winners

Women’s Champions League: Last 32 (beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Spanish side Atletico Madrid)

Players in: Matilde Fidalgo (defender, Braga), Aoife Mannion (defender, Birmingham City), Laura Coombs (midfielder, Liverpool), Tyler Toland (midfielder, Sion Swifts), Lee Geum-min (forward, Gyeongju KHNP), Ellen White (striker, Birmingham City)

Players out: Fran Stenson (goalkeeper, Arsenal), Jen Beattie (defender, Arsenal), Esme Morgan (defender, Everton), Abbie McManus (defender, Manchester United), Mel Lawley (winger, Liverpool), Nikita Parris (winger, Lyon), Claire Emslie (forward, Orlando Pride)

Home ground: The Academy Stadium, Manchester, after opening their campaign at the neighbouring 55,097-capacity Etihad Stadium

Opening game: Manchester United (home) at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, 7 September [15:00 BST]

Key fixtures: City host last season’s champions Arsenal on 2 February, by which time the title race should be shaping up nicely

Player to watch: After the departures of wingers Nikita Parris and Claire Emslie, 2019-20 could be a big year for City’s 19-year-old England youth international forward Lauren Hemp

Manager: Nick Cushing (English)

England 2019 World Cup players: Karen Bardsley (goalkeeper), Steph Houghton (defender), Demi Stokes (defender), Keira Walsh (midfielder), Jill Scott (midfielder), Georgia Stanway (forward), Ellen White (striker)

Scotland 2019 World Cup player: Caroline Weir (attacking midfielder)

The Etihad Stadium will host City’s first WSL game of 2019-20 at home to local rivals Manchester United

Manchester United

2018-19 WSL finish: Promoted to the WSL as second-tier champions

Women’s FA Cup: Quarter-finals

WSL Continental League Cup: Semi-finals

Players in: Mary Earps (goalkeeper, Wolfsburg), Lotta Okvist (defender, Hammarby), Abbie McManus (defender, Manchester City), Jackie Groenen (midfielder, Frankfurt), Hayley Ladd (midfielder, Birmingham City), Jane Ross (striker, West Ham)

Players out: Naomi Hartley (defender, Sheffield United), Alex Greenwood (defender, Lyon) Lucy Roberts (defender, South Florida Bulls), Charlie Devlin (midfielder, Charlton), Ebony Salmon (striker, Bristol City)

Home ground: Leigh Sports Village, which also plays host to rugby league team Leigh Centurions

Opening game: Manchester City (away) on Saturday, 7 September [15:00 BST] at the Etihad Stadium

Key fixtures: United host local rivals City in the reverse fixture on 29 March and fans will be eager to learn whether the match will be held at Old Trafford

Player to watch: Midfielder Jackie Groenen starred for the Netherlands at this summer’s World Cup, netting the winner in their semi-final against Sweden

Head coach: Casey Stoney (English)

England 2019 World Cup players: Mary Earps (goalkeeper), Abbie McManus (defender)

Scotland 2019 World Cup players: Kirsty Smith (defender), Lizzie Arnot (midfielder), Jane Ross (striker)

Former England centre-back Casey Stoney is in her first head coach role


2018-19 WSL finish: Fifth

Women’s FA Cup: Semi-finals

WSL Continental League Cup: Quarter-finals

Players in: Kristine Bjordal Leine (defender, Roa IL), Angharad James (midfielder, Everton), Amalie Eikeland (midfielder, IL Sandviken), Maxime Bennink (midfielder, PEC Zwolle)

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Players out: Kirsty Pearce (defender, retired), Becky Jane (defender, Liverpool), Gemma Davison (midfielder, Tottenham)

Home ground: Adams Park, High Wycombe, the home of men’s League One side Wycombe Wanderers, as well as some games at the Madejski Stadium

Opening game: Liverpool (away) on Sunday, 8 September [14:00 BST]

Key fixtures: The Royals are set to play at the Madejski Stadium three times in the first half of the season, including two League Cup group-stage games and 17 November’s league visit of Bristol City

Player to watch: Norway’s Amalie Eikeland was part of their squad at this summer’s Women’s World Cup, coming on as a substitute against England in the last 16

Manager: Kelly Chambers (English)

England 2019 World Cup player: Jade Moore (midfielder)

Scotland 2019 World Cup player: Sophie Howard (defender)

England’s most-capped international player Fara Williams signed a new Reading deal in May

Tottenham Hotspur

2018-19 WSL finish: Promoted to the WSL as second-tier runners-up

Women’s FA Cup: Fifth round (last 16)

WSL Continental League Cup: Group stage

Players in: Becky Spencer (goalkeeper, West Ham), Siri Worm (defender, Everton), Ria Percival (defender, West Ham), Hannah Godfrey (defender, University of South Alabama), Chloe Peplow (midfielder, Brighton), Gemma Davison (midfielder, Reading), Rosella Ayane (forward, Bristol City), Lucy Quinn (forward, Birmingham City), Kit Graham (forward, Charlton)

Players out: Emma Gibbon (goalkeeper, released), Anne Meiwald (defender, released), Renee Hector (defender, Charlton), Ryah Vyse (defender, Watford), Emma Beckett (midfielder, Watford), Wendy Martin (midfielder, retired), Maya Vio (midfielder, left to study medicine), Bianca Baptiste (forward, Crystal Palace), Sarah Wiltshire (forward, Yeovil Town)

Home ground: The Hive, Harrow, London, at the home of men’s National League side Barnet. Spurs will also be playing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Opening game: Chelsea (away) on Sunday, 8 September [12:30 BST] at Stamford Bridge

Key fixtures: Spurs will host north London rivals Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 17 November, after facing West Ham at the London Stadium on 29 September

Player to watch: England international winger Gemma Davison – who signed from Reading this summer – is a four-time WSL winner, having also previously played for Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea

Head coaches: Karen Hills (English) and Juan Amoros (Spanish)

Spurs will be a fully-professional side for the first time this term after winning promotion

West Ham United

2018-19 WSL finish: Seventh

Women’s FA Cup: Runners-up

WSL Continental League Cup: Quarter-finals

Players in: Courtney Brosnan (goalkeeper, Le Havre), Cecilie Kvamme (defender, IL Sandviken), Katharina Baunach (defender, Wolfsburg), Laura Vetterlein (defender, SC Sand), Kenza Dali (midfielder, Dijon), Jacynta Galabadaarachchi (forward, Perth Glory), Martha Thomas (forward, Le Havre)

Players out: Becky Spencer (goalkeeper, Tottenham), Ria Percival (defender, Tottenham), Vyan Sampson (defender, London City Lionesses), Claire Rafferty (left-back, retired), Lucienne Reichardt (midfielder, retired), Brianna Visalli (midfielder, Birmingham City), Rosie Kmita (winger, London Bees), Jane Ross (striker Manchester United)

Home ground: Rush Green Stadium

Opening game: Arsenal (away) on Sunday, 8 September (14:30 BST]

Key fixtures: The Hammers will play their men’s team’s normal home, the London Stadium, against Spurs on 29 September

Player to watch: West Ham fought off strong competition to secure the summer signing of France’s Kenza Dali

Manager: Matt Beard (English)

Women’s FA Cup: West Ham beat Reading on penalties – highlights

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