West Ham United Women Season Preview: Will the hammers be dark horses?
(Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)

Sitting in step three of women's football in the 2017/18 season, the team had an overhaul for the campaign after. They successfully applied to be members of the first fully professional Women's Super League and renamed themselves to 'West Ham Women' from 'West Ham Ladies' in a progressive move.

The side normally plays at a Rush Green stadium with a capacity of 2000, but they have announced that their fixture against Tottenham Hotspur will instead be held at the 60,000 seater London Stadium - which normally hosts the men's side.

Last Season

Despite not achieving success in the League, it will be treated as a good year from the hammers with them being able to reach the final of the women's FA Cup hosted at Wembley Stadium - falling 3-0 to a very strong Manchester City side.

In the WSL, Matt Beard's side finished seventh on 23 points, but were hampered by a number of injuries throughout the season and were without the finances of some of the other sides in the division. They suffered a number of injuries across the year which damaged them, but with the likes of experienced Julia Simic returning to the squad, they could prove themselves to be much stronger. 

Transfer Business

The Hammers have strengthened their side extensively over this summer with multiple additions. Outside of transfers, a number of players have signed new contracts and Claire Rafferty has retired from football.

Eight new players have signed, with a number of those being incredibly experienced. Two who have previously won the Frauen-Bundesliga are Laura Vetterlein and Katharina Baunach, both defenders having played for some of the top teams in Germany and will help to improve the team at the back. West Ham let in 37 goals last season - one of the highest tallies in the league, and hopefully they can help to improve on that.

Being the sixth highest-scoring team in the league last year, they have also made signings to improve their attack, although they have lost Rosie Kmita to London BeesMartha Thomas and Jacynta Galabadaarachchi are both good options upfront and have proved themselves to play well across pre-season.

Player to watch

#21 - Kenza Dali

19/20 will be Dali's first season in English football, after playing exclusively in France in the rest of her career.

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Prior to her move to West Ham, she has spent the majority of her career at Paris Saint Germain - where she netted 36 goals in 89 games whilst playing as a midfielder.

She will provide service to the players up front, linking up play between the defence and attack. 28, the attacking midfielder will be able to use her first season in the WSL to show off her skill on a new stage and help the hammers finish as high in the league as possible.

One for the future

#15 - Jacynta Galabadaarachchi

Only 18 years old, the summer signing has already gathered much interest globally.

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She made headlines in 2017 when the Football Federation Australia stopped her from playing for an under-15 boys team, with the decision later being overturned. Since she was young, she has had multiple trials with English clubs such as Manchester United and Manchester City, but made the choice in the summer to sign a contract with West Ham United.

On her signing, Irons manager Matt Beard told whufc.com this:

“I’ve seen a lot of young players, and I like working with and developing young players, and she is one of the best I have seen, in terms of ability. Moving to England from Australia at 18 is a big step for her and we want to help her settle in well, and I’m confident she will have a fantastic first season with us.”

Predicted finish

West Ham could prove to be dark horses this season, and although they do not stand out like Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City - they could go far.

A mid-table finish would be the most likely thing to happen, although there is a very strong chance that they could go further and end the season somewhere in the top half. 

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