As a pivotal final week of the transfer window is upon us, my stress about this team is at an all-time high. However, as a way to decompress while still satiating my thirst for Manchester United content, I have decided to figure out what the women’s team has been up to this summer.
April 20th, 2019
The women, in their first season since disbanding in 2005, clinch the tile in a resounding 7-0 win over the Crystal Palace Women’s team. Just three days prior, they had cemented promotion after beating Aston Villa 5-0, but with their win against the London side the women assured they would be top of the league and headed on up to the top flight of women’s football.
May 11th, 2019
The women end their season on a victorious note after putting five past Lewes Women and maintaining their fourth straight clean sheet. The women played 20 games in their season and only dropped four points with a loss to Reading and a draw with Durham. The team seems poised to make the jump to the top flight and maintain their position at the highest level of football.
June 9th, 2019
In the month following the end of their season, the team was incredibly busy making a flurry of signings to bolster the squad for their promotion. First to sign a pre-contract was the Dutch international Jackie Groenen. Groenen is a versatile midfielder who will surely add plenty of quality at the middle of the park for the women. Similar to the men, following the conclusion of their 2018-19 campaign the women looked to address their back line. United signed on Abbie McManus to fortify their defense. Mcmanus plays internationally for the Lionesses and shortly following her signing was named to the World Cup roster for England. The red’s added a third signing on in the month following their season by agreeing to terms with a midfield maestro, Haley Ladd of Wales. On the 9th of June, the Lionesses started their Women’s World Cup campaign kicking-off against Scotland in a match that featured four members of United’s women’s squad. Lizzy Arnot and Kirsty Smith and their Scottish team fell to United’s captain Alex Greenwood and new signing Abbie McManus who both were in the squad for England. New signing Jackie Groenen also featured for the Dutch team as they kicked off against New Zealand.
July 7th, 2019
On the 7th of July the World Cup final kicks-off with a United player in the squad, however, let’s take a look back at how we got to this point. The group stage was action packed for the squads that United was represented in. The Netherlands were dominant, especially at the back, as they wound up top of their group and advanced to the knockout stage. The Lionesses also impressed as they comfortably cruised into the round of 16. Following their loss in their first match to England, Scotland had an uphill battle and unfortunately Lizzy Arnot and Kirsty Smith crashed out in heartbreak to Argentina on the final match day in a wild high scoring affair. Alex Greenwood became the first lady red to score in the tournament as she helped propel England into the quarterfinals. During the knockout stage, the FA Women’s Super League announced fixtures and United are set to take on rivals Manchester City in their first match in the top flight. Both England and the Netherlands end up dominating their opponents on the way to the semifinals. The Lionesses are matched up with the reigning champions, America, who end up being too much for Greenwood, McManus, and their English teammates. Groenen, however, scores the only goal of her semifinal and launches the Netherlands into the final against the Americans. Following the semifinals, United make their fourth signing of the summer as Scottish striker Jane Ross agrees to join United. Days later, in the third-place game, England fell again to finish forth in the tournament. In the final, Groenen and her Dutch teammates take on the United States. After a spectacular defensive display in the first half to keep it 0-0, the Dutch cannot hold on as the Americans score twice in the second half to retain their World Cup title.
July 31st, 2019
In the couple weeks following the end of the Women’s World Cup, the pace of news certainly slowed but the women still had quality progress as they prepare for their opening match on the 7th of September. United was able to add on English goalkeeper Mary Earps to the squad. This was incredibly important because their first-choice keeper Siobhan Chamberlain announced the happy news that she is expecting her first child. This is anticipated to sideline her for a period of time this upcoming campaign, but Earps will be a solid addition to the squad to help fill this void. Manchester United’s youth was validated as being one of the very best as they had three players named to England’s U19 women’s European championship squad. During this time the women were totally back in to training as they prepare for the upcoming season. United also received news that for the ContiCup they will be paired with Birmingham City, Everton, Leicester City, and rivals Manchester City. It promises to be a strong group but United have to be hopeful of their chances following their slew of summer signings. However, on the 31st, United lined up against Norwegian side Valerenga in a friendly and suffered a demoralizing 4-1 defeat. The manager, Casey Stone, emphasized that a greater sense of cohesion needs to be built around this squad before the season kicks-off.
Other than the friendly defeat, this summer has been an incredibly positive time for United’s Women’s team. Five fantastic signings will hopefully to bring them up to the level of the rest of the FAWSL. They had three players in the World Cup semi-finals with one even advancing to the final. As the stress of the men’s team grows, I believe it is very important to look around the rest of the club and see all of the places where things are going very well. I am hoping that the women can be a source of entertaining and successful football during this 2019-20 season.