Alex Scott believes this summer’s influx of some of the world’s best players is proof the Women’s Super League has grown into the best domestic club competition in the world just nine years after its launch.
The WSL has been an attractive destination for many of Europe’s best players for some time, but it is the arrival of some of the USA’s best that have caused so much excitement given they are the reigning world champions.
Never before in the women’s game have so many of the best players gathered in one European league and been spread across so many different clubs, making this the most fiercely contested title race for years.
“I love it, it’s so exciting,” said Scott, a former England international, who was speaking at the launch of the FA's new partnership with Vitality, which will see the health and life insurance company sponsor the FA Cup for the next three years.
“When the WSL started back in 2011 it always had the ambition to grow into the best league in the world and what we are seeing now with the World Cup winners coming over.
“We’ve got European [Championship] winners and medalists, we’ve got our home grown stars like Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood coming back [to Man City] and that’s what you want.
“As a top player, you want to be playing, week in week out, against and with the best players. I just think it shows the development of the league and everything the FA have done to make sure the women’s game over here, we can say hand on heart, we are the best league because we really are. All the best players want to be here.”
And Scott, who has become a popular and insightful media pundit, as well as Vitality ambassador, is confident USA international’s Alex Morgan (Spurs) Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle (Man City), Christen Press and Tobin Heath (Man United), as well Denmark’s Pernille Harder, who has joined Chelsea for a world record fee from Wolfsburg, will be impressed.
“Once they are here and see every team [they will want to stay],” Scott explained. “When they see how professional we are trying to be in terms of broadcasting, the spotlight being on the women’s game and the partnerships we are forming with companies like Vitality.
“The whole development of the game. We are not just talking about it on the field, it’s what is happening off the field. It’s such an exciting thing to be part of right now.”
With the best of the imports gravitating to the biggest and richest clubs, there is a concern the league will lose some of its competitiveness.
Arsenal thrashed West Ham 9-1 last weekend, while Chelsea, who are many people’s favourites to challenge Lyon’s dominance of the Champions League this season, destroyed Bristol City 9-0. Manchester United also won 5-2 at Birmingham City.
The FA’s director of the women's professional game, Kelly Simmons, acknowledged the concerns, but argued it is far too early in the season to draw any conclusions.
“I’m really conscious that it’s only two weeks in,” she explained. “We also had Manchester United taking points off Chelsea on the opening weekend, we had Brighton getting a draw at Man City. It’s early days, we have to see how it settles down.
“What we want as a neutral, we want a really competitive title race and a good battle at the bottom, because that’s what drives interest. I think we will have both of those.”
The 2019/20 FA Cup campaign is yet to be completed, but will be rebranded the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, with the final due to be played on Sunday November 1 at Wembley and will be shown live on BBC One.
Nick Read, managing director for Vitality said: “There has never been a more important time to be involved in women’s football, and by working with The FA we hope to drive visibility of the women team, showcasing this great sport and encouraging millions more people get active and play football, in line with our core purpose to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives.”