It’s been far from smooth-sailing following the winter switch-over but the standard in WSL has remained high as ever, causing quite a few arguments between our writers as to who should make the grade this season. Admittedly, we had a high number of midfielders that we would have gladly have in our team but may have flouted the rules fielding a starting XV.
Keen to highlight those who’ve excelled in their position this season, we’ve broken down some awards for each third of the pitch as well as our overall Player and Young player of the year, as well as our stand-out manager.
Goalkeeper – Megan Walsh
Put under unwavering pressure this season for the Lady Glovers, Walsh has remained the bright spark for the league strugglers, her shots to save ratio blowing all other ‘keepers out of the water. Unable to keep a clean sheet until her thirteenth match, the young shot-stopper was finally rewarded for her heroics between the sticks when she helped Yeovil pick up their first two points of the season, with back-to-back draws over four days in April.
Defender – Magda Eriksson
Forced to adapt to a wholly different playing style after making the summer switch from Damallsvenskan, the Swedish defender fast found her footing in England and became a cornerstone for Chelsea this season. No-nonsense in her defending welcomed by the Blues as she made Chelsea’s LCB role her own, a cornerstone of Emma Hayes’ back three, the young defender always available to offer herself at set pieces too.
Midfielder – Izzy Christiansen
Integral to Manchester City as ever this season, it’s easy enough to brush off most of Christiansen’s goals this term as they’ve largely come from 12-yards. Though it’s her strong work ethic off of the ball that separates Christiansen from the majority of the pack, a relentless force for the Citizens, the team not quite the same when she’s not in the starting XI.
Attacker – Ellen White
Regaining her form in 2017 after a lengthy injury that curtailed her 2016 season, it’s clear that the Birmingham air agrees with the league top goalscorer. Side-lined for part of the season, White’s fifteen goals in fourteen league apps have helped propel the new-look Birmingham City up the table, the England international’s touch in and around the box as vital as the staunch defence behind her.
Manager – Kelly Chambers
A team that always looked like they could keep their noses in front of the Belles after both had come up for the 2016 season, the Royals have taken WSL by storm this term due in no little part to Chambers. With reinforcements brought in ahead of the Spring Series, Reading began to flex their muscles, taking some time to settle into the winter season before shocking some of the bigger sides this season. Scalps claimed with a comprehensive win over City as well as a draw in Kingston that the hosts would have been thankful to take anything from, Chambers has found the winning combination on the pitch and is getting the very best from her players.
Young player – Lauren Hemp
With a clear divide in WSL, teams at the wrong half of the table have found themselves humbled more often than not, teams struggling to bridge the gap for 90 minutes. However, in 17-year-old Hemp, the Vixens have found a talisman, the former Canary needing little time to adapt to the rigors of the top flight. Though Bristol City sit a way back from the better teams in the league, Hemp has been a shining star this term, her seven goals enough to help her team bag ten of their sixteen points.
Player of the season – Fran Kirby
There is little Kirby hasn’t won this season, either individually or as part of a rampaging Chelsea side, though for those who’ve had the privilege of watching her this season, especially over the second half, there’s little wonder as it why. With eight goals and five assists to her name in the league, the diminutive attacker has rarely failed to shine for the victorious Blues, consistently offering something in attack, a touch of individual brilliance to unlock the opposition. The 24-year-old benefiting from an extended run in the team, finally injury-free and clearly enjoying her craft.
Team of the season
Goalkeeper: Megan Wash (Yeovil Town)
Left-back: Demi Stokes (Manchester City)
A key component for the Citizens this season, Stokes has been a key part of both the defence and attack this term, almost picking up the slack left-behind by Lucy Bronze’s departure.
Left centre-back: Magda Eriksson (Chelsea)
Right centre-back: Aoife Mannion (Birmingham City)
A young defender who seems to have been a mainstay in the Birmingham team for as long as they’ve been an established side, Mannion has again shown her class this season, providing crucial cover for Ann-Katrin Berger, Hannah Hampton (and Fran Stenson).
Right-back: Hannah Blundell (Chelsea)
One to go about her job quietly, there are few instances this season where Blundell has looked out of her depth, the natural successor to Alex Scott in the England set-up, the defender has shown her strengths in both boxes as a reliable wing-back.
Holding midfield: Katie Chapman (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s departing captain, 35-year-old Chapman has rolled back the years this season, a rock in midfield for the champions, there’s little glamour in what the midfielder does, but she does it with flare.
Left midfield: Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal)
There’s little that can be said about Nobbs that hasn’t been said time and again every time we put together a team of the season/tournament. The loyal Gunner remains one of the brightest sparks in English football, her reading of the game and depth of her passing ability always a high point for Arsenal.
Right midfield: Izzy Christiansen (Manchester City)
Left wing: Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
Centre forward: Ellen White (Birmingham City)
Right wing: Beth Mead (Arsenal)
Somewhat of a slow-burner for the Gunners since her move, Mead has used the season to fully justify her move away from Sunderland, a fast fan-favourite who’s routinely offered Arsenal something going forward.