Westfield Matildas Abroad: France and Netherlands Preview
It's not only the FA Women's Super League kicking off this weekend, several of the major womens football leagues get rolling around Europe.
We look at both the D1 Feminine in France and the Netherlands Eredivise to give you an overview of the whos who of each competition, giving a run-down of every French and Dutch side which features a Westfield Matilda.
En Avant De Guingamp FC
Coach: Sarah M’Barek
2019-2020 Record (W-D-L): 6-5-5
Overview and Westfield Matildas Players: Guingamp has been a mainstay of the D1 Feminine competition, and enjoyed a successful 2019-2020 campaign. They finished in sixth spot and made a wonderful run to the French Cup semi-final where their run was ended by eventual winners Olympique Lyonnais.
Long term Guingamp coach Sarah M’Barek has already handed Westfield Matilda defender Laura Brock her debut in the French Cup semi-final coming on as a substitute. The defender should get a chance to develop at the club in 2020-2021 as she returns from a foot injury.
Fleury 91 FC
Coach: Jérémie Descamps
2019-20 Record (W-D-L): 6-2-8
Overview and Westfield Matildas players: Since their promotion to the top division in 2017, Fleury 91 FC has been a consistent mid-table since shown in their results last season which saw them finish 7th. That finish represented Fleury 91 FC’s highest placing in their three-year stay in Division 1 Feminine.
Emma Checker is the sole Westfield Matilda representative at Fleury 91 FC. The defender comes off winning a championship with Melbourne City and looks to make an impression quickly. She will be working to bring her Westfield W-League form, which saw her as a foundation block in the City defence, across to her first European stint.
[MORE: Ultimate Guide to the Westfield Matildas Abroad]
[MORE: Football Stories - Westfield Matildas in Europe]
[MORE: Kyah Simon's PSV move fulfills a football dream]
Coach: Jean-Louis Saez
2019-2020 Record (W-D-L): 9-3-4
Overview and Westfield Matildas Players: Another of the established clubs in the D1 Feminine, former two-time champions Montpellier HSC had a solid campaign in 2019-2020 and finished in fourth spot before the season ended due to Covid-19. Montpellier HSC missed out on the Champions League by 11 points.
One of the bright young talents for the Westfield Matildas Mary Fowler was signed during the last Westfield W-League season. It will be a big chance for the youngster to develop in one of the best women's leagues in Europe.
Coach: Jean-Luc Vasseur
2019-2020 Record (W-D-L): 14-2-0. Qualified for the UEFA Champions League.
Overview and Westfield Matildas Players: A juggernaut of the French women’s game, Olympique Lyonnais are the biggest team in the D1 Feminine competition. Olympique Lyonnais claimed a record 14th consecutive league title when play was suspended in December.
Since the resumption, Olympique Lyonnais has been busy adding to their full trophy collection, picking up their seventh UEFA Champions League title, defeating Wolfsburg 3-1 at the end of August.
Boasting a star-studded squad headlined by French captain Amandine Henry and former Ballon D’or winner Ada Hedberg mean there is no slowing down for the French giants. Westfield Matilda Ellie Carpenter made the off-season move to Olympique Lyonnais and look to establish herself in the squad as the first choice at right back.
Coach: Sander Luiten
2019-2020 Record (W-D-L): 10-2-0. Qualified for the UEFA Champions League.
Overview and Westfield Matildas Players:
One of the powerhouse sides in the Dutch game, PSV Eindhoven are one of the major challengers in the Eredivise, battling with Ajax and FC Twente for titles. PSV were on track to claim back-to-back titles before the season was cancelled.
PSV will be a team to keep a close eye on for Westfield Matildas fans. The Dutch giants recruited attacking duo Kyah Simon and Amy Harrison in the off-season and both will aim to make their mark in their first European ventures.