Nine Matildas to usher in WSL's new era

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As many as nine Matildas will usher in the exciting new era of the FA's Women's Super League, with the competition's challenges of the last 18 months now in the past.

Clubs who have been dealing with the various impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are preparing for a campaign in which a new broadcast deal for the WSL, described as "game-changing" by the Football Association, kicks in.

The three-year deal, understood to be worth around STG7million to STG8million ($A13 million-$A15 million) per season, will see matches shown on Sky Sports and BBC One and Two and clubs receiving a proportion of the revenue.

With that boost in exposure and finance, supporters set to return to stadiums and the England-hosted Euros less than a year away, the current sense of optimism with regard to the growth of women's football in the England is considerable.

Chelsea made a significant contribution to that feeling with their run to the Women's Champions League final last season - the first time an English club had reached that stage of the competition in 14 years.

The Blues' 2020-21 also saw them retain the WSL title and they are being tipped by many to claim the trophy for a third time in a row and fifth in total under boss Emma Hayes, who signed a new contract in July.

Hayes' squad, already featuring the formidable attacking talents of Australia's Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder, has been strengthened further by the signing of 19-year-old forward Lauren James from Manchester United.

Two points behind Chelsea in runners-up spot last season were Manchester City, the FA Cup holders who under Gareth Taylor are seeking their first league success since 2016.

Jamaica forward Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw and Spain midfielder Vicky Losada, a Champions League winner with Barcelona in May, have arrived at City over the summer along with Matildas Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy.

Arsenal, who finished third to claim the final Champions League berth, have a new manager with ex-Rosengard boss Jonas Eidevall having succeeded Australian coach Joe Montemurro.

And the Swede has emphasised his belief that the Gunners, nine points adrift of Chelsea at the end of 2020-21, can win the league this season.

Forwards Nikita Parris and Mana Iwabuchi are among the players who have been brought in to aid that bid while they also boast a trio of Australians in Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Lydia Williams.

There has also been a change of boss at Manchester United, Casey Stoney stepping down following their fourth-placed finish and former Birmingham manager Marc Skinner replacing her.

Willie Kirk's Everton, fifth last season, appear in good shape having made a raft of summer signings that includes the return to the club of winger Toni Duggan.

The division's newcomers are Jonathan Morgan's Leicester, who are set to play the majority of their home games at the King Power Stadium and have added the experience of Abbie McManus to their squad.

Hope Powell's Brighton, with Danielle Carter and Lee Geum-min among their summer recruits, head into the season aiming to pick up where they left off having finished their 2020-21 campaign by registering six wins in nine matches, including one at Chelsea.

Reading's summer has seen them gain the experience of Natasha Dowie while Matilda Kyah Simon's Tottenham will be hoping for three-cap England international Chioma Ubogagu to hit the ground running after joining the club.

West Ham, who boast Matildas Tamika Yallop and Mackenzie Arnold, Aston Villa and Birmingham are hoping to improve on finishes of ninth, 10th and 11th respectively.

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