International watch: Five key overseas players for Westfield W-League Season
International stars from around the globe are descending on Australian shores in preparation for the 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign beginning this week.
Marquee names from around Europe and America will light up the Westfield W-League once again in a bumper campaign buoyed by the success of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
But which overseas stars will have the biggest impact on the Westfield W-League this season?
It is becoming one of the ultimate proving grounds for footballers to make their mark, and here are five international stars looking to do just that in the 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign.
Lynn Williams (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Williams arrives at Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 Westfield W-League season fuelled by a hunger to get back to being a mainstay in the USA national side, after a period of time spent waiting in the wings.
Williams has scored 26 goals for North Carolina Courage across the last two NWSL campaigns, finishing second in the golden boot race in both seasons to Sam Kerr, making her the most lethal American striker in the league.
Once a regular starter for her national side, Williams was left out of the squad leading into the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in France, and watched on from home as USA lifted the cup in July.
But after the recent departure of head coach Jill Ellis, Williams has been thrown back into the mix, with new boss Vlatko Andonovski selecting the 26-year-old in USA’s training camp ahead of their final friendlies of the year.
Williams heads into the 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign with the Wanderers off the back of her fantastic NWSL form which earned her a recall to the national side, and Williams will undoubtedly have the golden boot in her sights this season.
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Claire Emslie (Melbourne City)
Scotland international Claire Emslie adds worldly experience to a Melbourne City squad already stacked with talent and class.
Emslie made history at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™, scoring Scotland’s first ever tournament goal in their group stage clash against England.
The 25-year-old has scored four goals from 24 international appearances and arrives in Australia to team up with Orlando Pride teammate Emily van Egmond at City.
Emslie joined Orlando in May after a successful stint at English giants Manchester City, where she won both the FA Women’s League Cup and FA Cup last season. When you add stints at Bristol City and Scottish side Hibernian, Emslie’s football CV makes for impressive reading.
Emslie will arrive in Melbourne following the international break, where City will be hoping her experience gathered at the highest level of both domestic and international football will help them rise back to the top of the Westfield W-League this season.
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Elise Thorsnes (Canberra United)
After a one-season absence, Elise Thorsnes has returned to Canberra United for the 2019/20 Westfield W-League season.
The Norwegian forward has recently split her time in both her native land and the United States, playing for NWSL outfit Utah Royals FC and Norwegian Toppserien side LSK Kvinner.
Thorsnes scored 10 goals in 21 appearances for LSK Kvinner this season, and with one game to go Thorsnes’ side is guaranteed to finish atop the Toppserien table.
The 31-year-old has 118 caps for Norway, including two appearances in the recent 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™, and brings an immense amount of experience and an international flavour to a young Canberra outfit.
Teaming up with American Katie Stengel up top for Heather Garriock’s side, Thorsnes will look to have a significant impact in the ACT this season in her second Westfield W-League stint.
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Veronica Latsko (Sydney FC)
American forward Veronica Latsko made a major impact at Adelaide United in the 2018/19 Westfield W-League campaign, and will now look to do the same with Champions Sydney FC.
Latsko finished third in the Westfield W-League golden boot race last season with nine goals, more than half of the Reds’ total tally for the season (17).
The Houston Dash striker looked set for a bumper 2019 NWSL season before an ACL injury early in the campaign ruled her out of action for the remainder of the competition.
Latsko returns to the Westfield W-League with a clean bill of health and will look to put a so-far problematic 2019 behind her, and Sydney FC fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of the 24-year-old linking up with Westfield Matildas star Caitlin Foord.
Foord and Latsko scored a combined 19 goals in the 2018/19 Westfield W-League campaign and, as the two join forces, the Champions will pose a fearsome attacking threat to any opposition this season.
Natasha Dowie (Melbourne Victory)
Returning English striker Natasha Dowie will be a vital player once again as Melbourne Victory gear up for their Premiership defence.
The club captain will be aiming to add to her 27 goals from four previous Westfield W-League campaigns.
Since the conclusion of the 2018/19 Westfield W-League campaign Dowie has plied her trade for Vålerenga in the Norwegian Toppserien, where she sits equal fourth in the golden boot race on 11 goals.
Dowie has long been Victory’s experienced international leader and will once again don the armband for Jeff Hopkins’ side, who will be looking to bounce back from their Semi Final defeat in 2018/19.
In Dowie, Victory have a captain who leads by example. She’s their all-time leading goal scorer and carries a plethora of international experience having plied her trade at a number of English sides, including Liverpool, Everton, Charlton and Fulham.
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