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Everton Ladies Season Preview

Blue Girls start their WSL campaign on Friday

Arsenal v Everton - Women's FA Cup Final Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Everton Ladies kickoff the WSL season with an exciting Merseyside derby this Friday at Select Security Stadium at 7:45 pm BST (2:45 pm ET).

The club was one of the founding teams of the FA WSL in 2011, but were relegated in 2014. The Blue Girls never gave up though and won the WSL2 Spring Series last year to earn their rightful place back into the top flight.

Everton proved that they are serious about competing this season when they made the biggest WSL transfer deadline day deal by signing Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, the WSL2’s most prolific goalscorer. The striker averages a goal a game and has the confidence to match. She likes to play in high pressure games and considers herself a nuisance for other teams.

One can’t help but be reminded of two-time winner of the Best FIFA Women’s Player award, Carli Lloyd, who also thrives on high pressure games and plays with swagger. Sweetman-Kirk aims to score a goal in the derby and make a name for herself, so get your match day chants ready.

You will also want to get out your Walker jerseys, as the Toffees have the second best goalscorer of the WSL2 in striker Claudia Walker. This team is not short on recognition, as Manager Andy Spence received the 2017 WSL Coach of the Year award. He has made it known that his goal is to ensure that Everton are a top team that everyone talks about.

The squad is very young and, at 26, wing-back Danielle Turner is one of the oldest players. She had a promising preseason, scoring a few goals, including one against WSL1 champions Chelsea.

Center-half Gabrielle George (20 years old) has been with the Toffees for three years now and will be a commanding force in defense.

Everton added several new players, including Dutch players Siri Worm (defender), Marthe Munstermann (midfielder) and Welsh midfielder Angharad James. Midfielder Jodie Brett is on loan from Chelsea and forward Chloe Kelly is on loan from Arsenal.

The Blue Girls pride themselves on their team spirit, which has been fostered by captain Michelle Hinnigan, who has held the armband since 2014 and won Player’s Player of the WSL2 Spring Series. There was no word of the midfielder having been made full-time and her usual #8 was worn by Jodie Brett in the preseason match against Arsenal. We anxiously await any news about the Kirkby-native’s status as she is a fan favorite and an essential part of the club.

Goalkeeper Kirstie Levell has been Everton’s #1 since 2015 and will be fighting to keep her spot. A graduate of Everton’s academy, she conceded only seven goals in the WSL2 Spring Series.

Goalkeeper Lizzie Durack played for Everton back in 2013 before attending Harvard University and playing with their varsity soccer team. She re-signed with the Toffees in July. Australian-born, she has received caps on the England team and was named a top ten emerging talent by UEFA in 2013 for helping the U-19’s to make the UEFA final.

The squad know that they have some tough competition in the WSL1 but they are aiming to finish at the top of the table and not just fight relegation.

A win against Liverpool would be a great way to start off a promising season. Liverpool Ladies have no less than four England senior team Lionesses on their squad who received caps for the World Cup qualifier against Russia on Tuesday at Prenton Park.

The last time the two teams squared off was for an FA Cup tie back in March, which ended in a 2-1 victory for Liverpool. Forward Mollie Green played in that game for Liverpool and believes that it was a lucky result and that this time Everton can come away with all three points.

Fans attending Tuesday’s England game can use their tickets to gain free access to the Everton Ladies vs Liverpool Ladies game on Friday. Or you can purchase tickets here. Friday’s derby will be aired on live on BT Sport 2 and BBC Radio 5 Live at 7.45 pm.

Everton Ladies WSL 1 2017/18 fixtures: (all times local)

Fri 22 September - Liverpool Ladies (H) 4pm

Sun 1 October - Birmingham City Ladies (a) 2pm

Sat 7 October - Manchester City Women (H) 7pm

Sun 29 October - Arsenal Ladies (H) 2pm

Sat 11 November - Yeovil Town Ladies (a) 3pm

Sun 10 December - Sunderland Ladies AFC (H) 2pm

Sat 6 January - Bristol City Women (a) 5.30pm

Sun 28 January - Chelsea Ladies (a) 2pm

Sun 11 February - Reading Women (H) 2pm

Fri 23 February - Arsenal Ladies (a) 7.30pm

Sun 25 March - Yeovil Town (H) 2pm

Wed 28 March - Sunderland Ladies AFC (a) 7pm

Sun 1 April - Bristol City Women (H) 2pm

Wed 18 April - Chelsea Ladies (H) 7pm

Sun 22 April - Reading Women (a) 2pm

Fri 27 April - Liverpool Ladies (a) 7pm

Sun 13 May - Birmingham City Ladies (H) 2pm

Sun 20 May - Manchester City Women (a) 2pm