Anticipation is building with the new Westfield W-League Season almost here and every club is building nicely for the 2020/21 campaign.
The curtain lifts on the season on December 27 and it will give a number of new faces the chance to impress with their new clubs.
After an off-season that has seen plenty of player movement and fresh faces signing on, we’ve picked out five new signings who are set to shine for their clubs and play a pivotal role in their team’s success.
Read on for our list of five key signings with the potential to use their undoubted pedigree to achieve Westfield W-League glory in 2020/21.
Kyra Cooney-Cross – Melbourne Victory
The skilful teenager has been earmarked as a star of the future for the last few years and 2020/21 looms as the time where Cooney-Cross could really explode.
Cooney-Cross, who has played for both the Junior and Young Matildas – returns to Victory having spent last season with the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Debuting in the Westfield W-League as a 15-year-old, Cooney-Cross (now 18) is one of the classiest playmakers in the competition and will be expected to spark Victory’s attack in 2020/21.
She certainly showed plenty of promise during her time with the Red and Black last season, playing 13 games with a return of four goals and three assists.
With the likes of Lisa De Vanna and Melina Ayres also in the Victory squad, Jeff Hopkins has plenty of attacking weapons at his disposal.
Emily Gielnik – Brisbane Roar
Jake Goodship has made some astute signings for Roar heading into the new campaign but none bigger than the return of the all-action attacker.
Gielnik not only brings a wealth of experience into the Roar squad but also has a good scoring record in the competition.
As well as making more than 30 appearances for the Westfield Matildas, the 28-year-old has amassed almost 100 games in the Westfield W-League, winning a Championship and Premiership with the Roar.
She most recently played in the Westfield W-League with Melbourne Victory, helping the club to the Premiership in 2018/19, before short stints at German giants Bayern Munich and Swedish outfit Vittsjo GIK.
Having seen striker Allira Toby move to Sydney FC, Gielnik will be called on to shoulder more of Roar’s goal-scoring responsibility and should get plenty of chances playing with the likes of Katrina Gorry and Tameka Yallop.
Michelle Heyman – Canberra United
After retiring from international football in 2019, most people thought Heyman’s Westfield W-League career was over heading into the 2020/21 Season.
But the 32-year-old got the itch to play again and is back with United under new coach Vicki Linton.
It’s a huge coup for the rebuilding Green Machine, with Heyman to take on a leadership role with a young squad aiming to work their way into the top four.
And in Heyman they have someone who knows what that’s all about, having won two Westfield W-League Championships as well as a Julie Dolan Medal in 2009.
Heyman, who has played 89 times for Canberra, is the second-highest scorer in the competition’s history with 63 goals (only behind Sam Kerr) and has twice finished with the Westfield W-League Golden Boot.
Jenna McCormick – Melbourne City
City were almost perfect en-route to winning last season’s Championship-Premiership double but Rado Vidosic has managed to improve his defence with the signing of McCormick.
With Kiwi international Rebekah Stott moving to Brighton in England, the Westfield Matildas central defender is a superb replacement and adds even more steel to City’s rock-solid defence.
Still just 26, McCormick brings plenty of experience to City as well and is coming off a stint playing in Spain with Real Betis.
If she can display the form that she has shown over the last couple of years then City will take some stopping in going for back-to-back Westfield W-League crowns.
Sarah Willacy – Western Sydney Wanderers
Having made the Westfield W-League Finals Series for the first time ever last season, the Wanderers can no longer go under the radar heading into 2020/21.
There will be plenty of expectation on Dean Heffernan’s squad so the addition of excellent shot-stopper Willacy could be crucial.
The 25-year-old has spent her entire career so far at Adelaide United but heads to the Wanderers off the back of her most consistent season in the competition and as one of the best keepers going around.
And she has big boots to fill, taking over from American keeper Abby Smith who was sensational last season.
A vocal shot-stopper blessed with strong hands and excellent reflexes, Willacy will provide a solid base for the Red and Black to build from heading into the new campaign.