One of our favourite things about the FA WSL over the past year or so has been its conscious decision to embrace the social media sphere. Both through its own exceptionally active Twitter Account (@FAWSL) and through the employment of a squad of Digital Ambassadors, one from each of the 8 teams, the league’s marketing work has been truly focussed on building the inclusiveness of the women’s football community.
With the new season just a week away, our focus in this preview is the Digital Ambassadors – and where to find them.
Arsenal Ladies – Steph Houghton – @stephhoughton2
Surely the breakout star of women’s football in 2012, Steph Houghton’s star is firmly on the rise. An attacking left back and already a mainstay of both her club and national sides, Houghton’s defensive nous and attacking set pieces make her equally capable at both ends of the pitch. As a dedicated Sunderland fan, much of Houghton’s Twitter feed is given over to support of her home town club.
Birmingham City Ladies – Laura Bassett – @laurabassett6
A versatile defender, equally comfortable as a hard-tackling midfielder, Laura Bassett has been a mainstay of the Birmingham City Ladies since joining the club from Leeds Carnegie Ladies in 2010. Bassett’s 29 England caps to date have primarily been won in the more advanced position.
Bristol Academy WFC – Siobhan Chamberlain – @Sio_Chamberlain
Part of the England squad for almost a decade, Bristol Academy ‘keeper Siobhan Chamberlain joined Bristol from Chelsea Ladies on the formation of the WSL. A committed publicist for the WSL and an excellent spokesperson for women’s football, Chamberlain’s performances over recent years have made her one of the most dependable ‘keepers in the women’s game.
Chelsea Ladies – Claire Rafferty – @clrafferty1
Part of the Team GB Olympic squad, Claire Rafferty has been involved with the England set up through each of its youth categories, eventually making her full international debut in March 2010, her 7 caps to date having seen England undefeated. Since joining Chelsea Ladies at 19 years from Milwall Lionesses, Rafferty’s reputation for tough tackling versatility (she remains equally comfortable on the left of midfield as in the full back position) makes her an enduringly exciting prospect.
Doncaster Rovers Belles – Sue Smith – @suesmith8
At 33 years of age and with 93 international caps to her name, Sue Smith is one of the most instantly recognisable current female footballers, not least through her work on international football with the BBC. Since suffering an horrendous crucial and medial ligament injury on her Doncaster Rovers Belles debut in March 2012, Smith’s focus has primarily been on rehabilitation and media work.
Everton Ladies – Jill Scott – @jillscott12
An outstandingly talented central midfielder with a vicious strike and keen eye for goal, Scott is one of English women’s football’s true stars. With 60 caps to her name at just 24 years of age, the Everton midfielder’s ability to break past defenders is one of the enduring sights of women’s football, frequently springing defence into rapid attack. Scott is currently off Twitter, having given it up for 40 days as part of Comic Relief 2013!
Lincoln Ladies – Megan Harris – @megsharris7
Another central midfielder with the ability to find the back of the net, Megan Harris is noted for her strong running and outstanding aerial presence. Capable of the occasional wonder striker, Harris’ stunning strike against Arsenal Ladies in May 2012 gave the Lady Imps a last minute Continental Cup victory over the eventual league champions.
Liverpool Ladies – Fara Williams – @Fara_Williams47
Almost a veteran at 29, Fara Williams is one of a number of new faces at Liverpool Ladies this season, having joined from fierce rivals Everton. A league and international regular since just 17 years of age and with 109 caps to her name, Williams was an ever present in the Team GB Olympic squad last year. Her ability to dominate a midfield and impose her creative instincts on the game will surely make her a distinct threat in the red of Liverpool.