The Westfield W-League is back!
Suncorp Stadium beckons on Sunday as Glory kick off the 2018/19 season by taking on Brisbane Roar.
The squad has been substantially reshaped for the new campaign, with seven new recruits arriving including highly-rated American defender Katie Naughton, tenacious midfielder Alyssa Mautz, who is back for a second spell at the club and exciting young attacker Jacynta Galabadaarachchi.
Head Coach Bobby Despotovski is pleased with the recruitment that has gone on during the off-season and feels that he now has a nicely balanced squad at his disposal.
“I’m delighted with the players we have,” he said. “A priority for us was to inject young talent into the squad and we’ve done that, while also making sure that we have older heads around to add their experience and help those younger players develop.
“Our returning Americans, Rachel [Hill], Alyssa [Mautz] and Nikki [Stanton] are all quality performers, as is Katie [Naughton] who also knows the competition having played in it before.
“And we have some very exciting youngsters such as Jacynta, Lexie [Moreno] and Abbey Meakins. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they develop this year and our members and fans should keep an eye out for them.”
When asked what would constitute success for Glory this season, meanwhile, Despotovski was unequivocal.
“Our target is the top four,” he said.
“From there, we will try to progress, hopefully reach the Grand Final and then go and win our first title.”
So how will the women be lining up this year?
Here’s a handy guide to the players who will be out to land that elusive maiden championship:
#1 Eliza Campbell – A key new arrival, 23-year-old Campbell has three Matildas caps to her name and is regarded as one of the most promising ‘keepers in the country.
#21 Morgan Aquino – A Young Matildas representative, Aquino transitioned from a scholarship to a full contract last season when she served as Mel Maizels’ deputy.
#24 Natasha Rigby – Margaret River local Rigby debuted for the club in 2016 and has subsequently made 24 appearances at full-back.
#2 Sarah Carroll – Set to begin her eighth season in purple, the versatile 23-year-old can slot in at full-back or centre-back as required.
#3 Kim Carroll – With a wealth of experience behind her, including 54 Matildas caps, commanding central defender Carroll is again likely to be a cornerstone of Glory’s backline.
#8 Grace Henry – Returning to the Westfield W-League after a two-year break, Henry previously played for Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers and can operate both at the back and in midfield.
#12 Jenna Onions – A tenacious left-back, 17-year-old Onions hails from Albany and will be hoping to make her W-League debut this year.
#25 Katie Naughton – One of the most highly-rated defenders in America’s National Women’s Soccer League, Naughton enjoyed a stellar season with Chicago Red Stars last term and has previous W-League experience at Adelaide United.
#5 Shannon May – The club’s longest serving player, the ever-consistent May is poised to chalk up her 100th appearance in purple this season.
#4 Alyssa Mautz – Fondly remembered by Glory fans for her superb performances during the 2016-17 campaign, former US Under-20 international Mautz is a hard-working, composed midfielder whose experience is likely to prove invaluable this year.
#6 Abbey Meakins – Meakins has moved from a scholarship to a full contract this season and is regarded as very bright young prospect.
#7 Nikki Stanton – One of Glory’s best-loved overseas recruits, Stanton is poised for a fourth season here in the West having debuted for the club back in 2015.
#15 Lexie Moreno – Moreno announced herself on the W-League scene by bagging a debut goal against Canberra United last term and will be looking for more opportunities to showcase her great technical skills and creative flair this term.
#11 Leticia McKenna – A hugely-talented attacking midfielder, 16-year-old McKenna enjoyed a breakout season with the NTC this year and was recently called up for the Young Matildas.
#20 Sam Kerr – ‘Super Sam’ will lead the side again having won the Westfield W-League Golden Boot and shared the Julie Dolan Medal last season and looks set to enhance her reputation as one of the world’s greatest players.
#9 Rachel Hill – The 23-year-old from New Hampshire will be looking to build upon a magnificent debut season for Glory last year in which she scored nine goals and provided a competition-high six assists.
#10 Jacynta Galabadaarachchi – An exciting young attacker who has previous W-League experience with Melbourne City, Galabadaarachchi’s close dribbling skills and rapid acceleration are sure to endear her to the Glory faithful.
#14 Caitlin Doeglas – A versatile performer who can play as a wide midfielder or striker, Doeglas has spent the previous three seasons with Glory, making 18 appearances in total.
Glory’s first home game of the season is against Western Sydney Wanderers at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday 17 November and you can grab your bargain membership for just $60, plus a downloadable fixture list HERE.