We don’t quite have the time, bandwidth, or opportunity to give Chelsea Ladies their proper due on this blog — those are my excuses; I’d love it if somebody reading this would like to come help us cover Emma Hayes’s most excellent team — but they’ve been rather busy this offseason in strengthening the squad who have finished first or second in the FA WSL for the last three seasons running, winning it all in 2015.
Their obvious aim is to improve on 2016’s second place finish while becoming even more competitive in the Champions League, where they’ve been eliminated in the early knockout rounds by Wolfsburg the last two seasons. In fairness, Wolfsburg are really very-very good. Obviously Chelsea are looking to get to that level as well, and that ambition has been underlined by signings like Norway national team captain Maren Mjelde and now the young USA star Crystal Dunn.
Welcome to Chelsea Ladies, Crystal Dunn! https://t.co/PGCqSSVwyq— Chelsea Ladies FC (@ChelseaLFC) January 3, 2017
Speaking to Chelsea official, head coach Emma Hayes was rather excited to have the “pocket rocket” in the fold.
“Crystal is hands-down one of the best young players to have come through in the United States in recent years. She’s just been voted second in US Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year, she is a Hermann Trophy winner, she has been a league top scorer and she has come out of a fantastic college programme. We are really getting a top-quality player coming to England.”
“She is incredibly dynamic, she is very quick and when she gets in and around the penalty box, she is absolutely devastating. She has the ability one v one to tear teams to shreds and she has good versatility as she can play in a wing-back or full-back role for us, as well as playing in any of the front-three positions. Importantly, she brings the world-class quality we have been looking to add to our squad.”
-Emma Hayes; source: Chelsea FC
But now she’s a Blue, and you know what they say: once a Blue, always a Blue. Welcome, Crystal Dunn!
(The WSL is moving to a “traditional” winter schedule for next season in line with most other European professional leagues, so they will have a mini “spring league” starting in February.)