Our Reading Women FC expert James Hopes runs the rule over the Royals new signings ahead of the big competitive kick-off in the FA Women’s Cup and subsequent FA WSL Spring Series.
Manager Kelly Chambers was very active in the transfer market over the winter with a number of new players joining the club, as well sadly as a few moving on to pastures new.
Mandy Van Den Berg joined from Liverpool to give additional quality to the Royals’ defence. She is Dutch captain so comes with a brilliant pedigree in the game and played well for Liverpool last season in her first year in the WSL.
Whether she will partner Kirsty McGee or Molly Bartrip in central defence remains to be seen but Mandy certain has the attributes and experience to have a massive impact this season.
Brooke Chaplin spent 5 years at Everton and 2 years at Sunderland before moving to the Royals recently, in part due to Sunderland’s decision to revert to part time status.
She featured in WSL1 on 12 occassions last season and netted 3 goals for the second consecutive league campaign. Hopefully she can provide a goalscoring threat from midfield this coming season and get things moving forward. Having lost Emma Follis and her goals for this season, Brooke is definitely one to watch and could be really important for Reading this season.
Rachel Furness also arrived from Sunderland recently having spent a large portion of her career with them. She has a wealth of WSL and international experience, having made won 50 caps for Northern Ireland and scored 16 goals.
She generally played as a combative midfielder for the Black Cats but time will tell where she features for the Royals, given that central midfield has been our strongest area for the last couple of years. She is another excellent signing and should make a good impact on the squad with her ability and experience.
Rachel suffered an ankle injury in October which required surgery so she is still working her way back to fitness. Hopefully she makes a full and speedy return to her best.
60 international appearances
The final addition to this year’s squad is New Zealand international left back Anna Green (pictured top). Anna has made over 60 international appearances and previously spent 2 years at Notts County.
Unfortunately she suffered a bad injury after just 1 appearance for the Lady Pies and didn’t play for them competitively again before spending last year in Swedish football with Mallbackens. Fingers crossed she will have more luck during her second stint in the WSL!
We also have 2 of the current Dev Squad stars, Sophie O’Rourke and Tamsin De Bunsen named in the first team squad for the new season. De Bunsen has impressed with her goalscoring prowess in recent months so can hopefully rise to the challenge if selected for the first team, as goals are likely to be tough to find again this season.
Charlie Estcourt has also picked up her first pro contract, having done very well last season on loan at promoted Bristol City. She could have an important role to play this season if she gets a run in the team.
The cup game against City is very much a one off, with the actual WSL Spring Series not kicking off until the end of April. Let’s hope we can start to gel as a pretty new team, keep everyone fit and give a good opening account of ourselves!