Everton will look to feed off the feelgood factor running through the nation regarding women’s football as it looks to banish last season’s disappointments with a positive 2022/23 campaign. The England Women’s march to the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 title over the summer has certainly made an impact in growing the game all the way down to the grassroots level, but the Blues will need to convert performances into results to fully capitalize on that.
The Toffees’ Danish supremo, Brian Sorensen, has promised to implement a ‘proactive’ style of football and realise the vast potential he believes he has at his disposal. With two league titles from two spells with Danish outfit Fortuna Hjorring, as well as domestic cup success and Champions League regularity, expectation will be on the 41-year-old’s shoulders as the one who finally breaks the ceiling to secure a seat at the FA WSL top table.
With only three league wins after Oct. 3, including a 0-8 record against the big four of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United, as well as dismal cup runs in both the Continental and FA Cup, Sorensen’s initial aims must be one that is, at the very least, progress on what occurred in the previous campaign. It would be hard to look past defending champions Chelsea reclaiming the title, the West London outfit will probably expect Arsenal and Manchester City as the main challengers to the crown, but the Blues’ faithful will be expectant of an improvement on a tenth-placed finish, and a longer cup run, or cup runs.
Sorensen’s focus on younger talent, whom he believes he can develop in England, will need to hit the ground running. 20-year-old Jess Park arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester City and was quickly joined by Netherlands international striker Katja Snoeijs. The 25-year-old joins with a wealth of experience competing at the highest level in her homeland, where she was top scorer in the Eredivisie in back-to-back seasons, before spending the previous two campaigns with French side Bordeaux. Goalkeeping reinforcements include 21-year-old Emily Ramsey, who arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester United to provide stern competition for Courtney Brosnan, while the capture of Danish twins Sara and Karen Holmgaard from German side Turbine Potsdam, provides greater depth and strength in both defence and midfield.
Sticking with his Danish connections, Sorensen made experienced and versatile defender, Katrina Veje, his sixth summer signing. The former Arsenal star has 140 caps for Denmark and is equally adept at playing in midfield.
Australian international Clare Wheeler reunited with Sorensen after joining from Fortuna Hjorring. The 24-year-old combative midfielder was followed by exciting forward Aggie Beever-Jones, who arrived on a season-long loan from Chelsea. Norwegian defender Elise Stenevik from Swedish club Eskilstuna United and Brazilian teen, Giovana Queiroz Costa, became the ninth and tenth signings, with Costa’s loan move from Arsenal bringing an end to a busy summer of recruitment.
Defender Kenzie Weir also signed her first professional contract with Everton, the 18-year-old agreed a three-year deal until the end of June 2025. The teenager is the daughter of Toffees’ legend David Weir who spent seven years at the club at the beginning of the century.
As well as incomings, there were a number of outgoings. Kenza Dali swapped Merseyside for the Midlands and was followed by Anna Anvegård, Grace Clinton, Claire Emslie, and goalkeeper Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir. The Blues also said goodbye to Sandy MacIver and Poppy Pattinson, while captain Danielle Turner and forward Simone Magill departed following over 20 years’ worth of service to the Club between them.
The comings and goings suggest a ‘new broom’ approach, but Sorensen will be relying on key figures like Izzy Christiansen, Lucy Graham, Gabby George, and the vastly experienced Toni Duggan, to help blood his new crop of talent quickly.
A 2-1 victory against BK Hacken, followed by a draw with Aston Villa and a narrow reverse to Manchester United leaves the boss which much to work with and ponder. A recruitment process, including loan moves from several top-four clubs, with a real focus on bolstering the forward line, suggests that the Dane’s proactive plan will be high intensity and creativity as he looks to vie for a best-of-the-rest finish.
Although, if you offered him a finish between sixth and eighth, coupled with a good cup run, he may just be happy with that for his inaugural full season with the Blues.
Editor’s Note - It is our pleasure to welcome John to the Royal Blue Mersey team as our new Women’s team correspondent. He brings his extensive experience having covered various aspects of the Blues over the years, including his time as an employee of the club as well as writing for Everton in the Community at the Liverpool Echo.