Football Fern Olivia Chance and her world record air miles – news of soccer
There are 10 weeks to go until the start of the Fifa Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Every Thursday between now and then, Stuff will be bringing you the latest news from the world of women’s football.
We will also be taking a look at the biggest matches you can watch each week – those involving Football Ferns and those featuring some of the stars that will grace our shores in July and August.
First, here are the key stories from the week just gone.
A star is born in the USA
A high school student has emerged as the possible replacement for injured forward Mallory Swanson in the United States’ World Cup squad.
18-year-old sensation Alyssa Thompson has exploded onto the scene in her first season with National Women’s Soccer League club Angel City, where she is a team-mate of Football Ferns captain Ali Riley.
Thompson scored just 11 minutes into her professional career and now has goals in back-to-back games, taking her season tally to three goals in six games, after another spectacular effort in Angel City’s 3-2 win over Kansas City Current on Monday (NZT).
Thompson created history this year when she was selected No. 1 in the NWSL Draft. She was the first player picked straight out of high school. Thomspon still attends Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles, the same school Riley went to.
She has already represented the US on three occasions and was rushed into the squad as injury cover for their second of two games against the Republic of Ireland after Swanson suffered a serious knee injury that will see her miss the World Cup.
On current form, Thompson will be hard to ignore as Vlatko Andonovski puts the finishing touches on his World Cup squad.
Matildas injury scare
Chelsea coach Emma Hayes has eased fears over the health of superstar striker Sam Kerr after the Matildas captain came off early in their crushing 7-0 win over Everton in the FA Women’s Super League on Monday (NZT).
Kerr scored Chelsea’s second goal with a 25th minute header but had to be replaced seven minutes later due to an apparent calf issue, sparking injury concerns about her fitness 10 weeks out from the World Cup.
However, Hayes reassured Australian fans by saying Kerr’s early withdrawal was purely as a precaution.
She said the Matildas’ all-time leading goalscorer had been dealing with cramp in her leg after being ill the night prior.
“Sam was sick last night,” told Chelsea’s website. “She decided to play but her calf was cramping up so we decided to take her out.”
Kerr had been at the coronation of King Charles III in London on Sunday, carrying the Australian flag in the procession into Westminster Abbey.
Have boots, will travel
Football Ferns midfielder Olivia Chance can lay claim to being the most-travelled female footballer.
FIFPro, the global players’ union, released stats ranking the players who had travelled the most while on international duty between the period of August 1 and March 31, and Chance came out on top, having flown a staggering 145,406km from her Glasgow home to various corners of the globe.
The Celtic playmaker has been an ever-present member of the New Zealand squad and she made five trips within the seven-month timeframe, flying to the United States and Japan, and as well making three separate visits home to Aotearoa for games against South Korea, the US and Portugal and Argentina.
This week’s key matches
Women’s FA Cup final: Chelsea v Manchester United Where: Wembley Stadium, London When: Monday, 1.30am (NZT) Coverage: Live on FA Player (free)
Chelsea will be hoping to have Kerr back on deck for Monday’s FA Cup final, where they will be gunning for a third consecutive cup triumph at a sold-out Wembley.
Standing in Chelsea’s way of a three-peat are WSL leaders Manchester United. The two teams only narrowly made it through to the cup final after surviving tense semifinals, but they are both coming off comprehensive victories in the leagueee.
Chelsea beat United’s crosstown rivals Manchester City 3-2 in last year’s final after Kerr scored the winner in extra time.
Scottish Women’s Premier League: Celtic v Glasgow City Where: Celtic Park, Glasgow When: Friday, 6.30am (NZT). Coverage: N/A
Meikayla Moore’s Glasgow City can secure a record 16th SWPL title with a win away to Chance’s Celtic on Friday (NZT), though it’s unlikely either Football Fern player will feature in the match due to injury.
Glasgow hold a five-point lead over Celtic with just three games remaining after making light work of 10-woman Hearts in their last match.
Celtic have won their last two meetings with Glasgow City.
National Women’s Soccer League: Racing Louisville v Chicago Red Stars Where: Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville When: Saturday, 10.30am (NZT). Coverage: Live on watch.nwslsoccer.com (free)
Football Ferns legend Abby Erceg is still search for her first win since as a Racing Louisville player after being traded from North Carolina Courage in the off-season.
But Saturday’s clash at home to bottom-place Chicago Red Stars looms as a great chance for Erceg and Louisville to open their account.
Louisville are the only winless team left in the NWSL after six rounds. They have drawn four and lost two.