Gunners Fair is back with more news from the Arsenal Ladies camp. With both the Champions League and 2014 fixture dates announced, there is a real sense of pre-season before it all kicks off.
Arsenal Ladies play Birmingham City Ladies in the Champions League quarter-finals – the first leg is at St. Andrews Stadium on March 24, 2014 and the return one on March 30, 2014 at the Barnet FC’s The Hive. The away leg is on a Monday and will kick-off at 7pm, while the home match is at 2pm on the coming Sunday. Tickets are already available for the second leg (£5 adults and £2.50 concessions) and details on how to purchase can be found here. Family and group discounts are available, while Arsenal and Arsenal Ladies season ticket holders have free entry on production of their cards.
The 2014 Women’s Super League fixtures were announced earlier this month. These can be subject to change and I’ll do my best to keep readers updated on them but also keep checking the Arsenal Ladies website. Our campaign will begin on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 with a trip to Notts County. We will then host Watford and London Bees and travel away to Reading for the newly formatted group stages of the Continental Cup, before hosting the new addition to the WSL, Manchester City Ladies on May 18 for the first league home game of the season. In between, there will be FA Women’s Cup matches and Champions League fixtures depending on how our progression is.
Arsenal Ladies season tickets are still available for purchase here – £35 adults and £17.50 concessions – and cover all domestic and Champions League matches at Boreham Wood FC.
On March 6, 2014, the Arsenal Girls Centre of Excellence are holding an Open Evening for Coaches at Player Development Centres and Grass Root Clubs. The day is free of charge and will give coaches an opportunity to see how the Centre of Excellence functions, a chance to observe a training session of the CoE’s U17 squad (the current holders of the FA National U17 Cup) and understand the principles the club uses to recruit and develop young elite female players. More information can be found here.
Tickets are already on sale for the Women’s FA Cup final on Sunday, June 1, 2014. This year it is to be held at the Milton Keynes Dons’ Stadium MK and will also feature the FA Girls’ Youth Cup (KO 1 pm) before the Women’s final (KO 4.30pm). As usual, the game will be broadcast live on BBC 2. Ticketing information can be found here.
Four Gunners are in the England squad for the upcoming Cyprus Cup. The Three Lions won the annual competition last year and will be surely looking to build on that when they take on Italy (5 March), Finland (7 March) and Canada (10 March) this time around. Arsenal’s Siobhan Chamberlain (keeper), Alex Scott (defender), Jordan Nobbs (midfielder), Kelly Smith (forward) will feature in the senior women’s team, while Danielle Carter (forward), Freda Ayisi (forward), and Biance Bragg (midfielder) are in the England Women’s U23 squad to play in the La Manga tournament where they face Sweden (March 1, 5pm GMT), Germany (March 3, 3pm GMT) and Japan (March 5, 3pm GMT).
Arsenal Ladies youngsters Jade Bailey, Leah Williamson and Vyan Sampson made the U19 England team for La Manga, and the club also have representation in the Scotland and Ireland teams as Emma Byrne (keeper) and Niamh Fahey (defender) are in the Irish Cyprus Cup squad, while Caroline Weir (forward) made the U19 Scotland team for the La Manga tournament and Emma Mitchell (midfielder) and Christie Murray (forward) are in the Scottish Cyprus Cup squad.
The Gunners Town team would like to congratulate all the players on their selection, and wish them all the luck in their respective tournaments.
ALFC will have two more new faces for the new season as Japan internationals Yukari Kinga and Shinobu Ohno are the latest additions to a squad that has seen many changes over the off-season. The 29 year old Kinga is an experienced defender with 87 caps for her country and joins us from Japanese League champions INAC Kobe, while the 30 year old forward Ohno is no stranger to the top level in women’s football either, having played for two-time Women’s Champions League winners, Olympique Lyonnais. She has 39 goals in 116 games for Japan and has previously done spells at NTV Beleza and INAC Kobe.
“Yukari and Shinobu are both extremely experienced internationals, who are proven at the very top level. They will add real quality to our squad and we are delighted to welcome them to Arsenal Ladies.” (Vic Akers, Arsenal Ladies general manager)
Kerr has done a good job bringing in quality players to strengthen necessary areas of concern after the departures of many of the experienced players. With a new look WSL in effect for the first time since the league’s conception, and with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool showing that they have no qualms in spending big to ensure the required competitiveness, this is going to be an important season for Arsenal Ladies to show that they will always be up for a new challenge to their domination of domestic women’s football in England.
So far it is very promising as the new look team had a good trial run beating Derby County 5-0 (one each from Kelly Smith and Freda Ayisi, and a hat-trick from Danielle Carter) and Nottingham Forest Ladies 5-0 (2 from Jordan Nobbs, 2 from Caroline Weir and one from Bianca Bragg) in their pre-season friendlies. (Also, on February 23, 2014, the Arsenal Ladies WSL Development Team beat Reading FC Women’s 6-0, with Freda Ayisi one of the scorers.) The next Gunners Fair will see a special Champions League preview from regular guest writer, Emmet McEvoy, and you also have a WSL season preview to look forward to from him sometime in March-April.
Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.