Women’s football in England has grown rapidly over the past few years and the influx of Australian players and coaches has increased its profile and interest levels here.
Bristol City might not enjoy the profile of their rivals, but they are a admirable club that Australian fans should identify with and might enjoy supporting.
In the most recent season, Bristol only just escaped relegation finishing 10th and struggling defensively, conceding 38 goals.
Surviving the relegation battle was an achievement as Bristol has an operating budget roughly five times lower than some of the other WSL clubs. Their survival in the league is largely credited to their Australian manager, former Perth Glory player and qualified psychologist Tanya Oxtoby, who considers her academic background to be a large part of her managerial success. “Psychology’s a massive part of football, especially when teams are under pressure. My background’s made me very conscious of players’ body language and the way I communicate with them.” She told The Guardian upon taking charge.
To improve on last season’s close call Oxtoby has recruited two Australian midfielders, Chloe Logarzo from Sydney FC and Ella Mastrantonio from Western Sydney Wanderers. Bristol struggled to control games last season and these midfield reinforcements might be the difference between the WSL and relegation. Logarzo’s ability to score some spectacular individual goals should help improve the tally of a side that only managed to beat the keeper nine times last season.
Bristol have the strongest Australian representation outside of Arsenal, and for fans looking for a team who love an underdog, they are an option, especially as they have one of our heroes of the last World Cup campaign.
Something To Consider
It might be simpler for some fans than others, but these are relatively new professional teams creating their own legacies and while family tradition or local ties might be a factor, it is OK for most of us to support Liverpool in the EPL but wear a Raso shirt for the WSL. It is unlikely that the men’s sides consider WSL results on or field incidents as their motivation or to fire themselves up on match day, so pick a team or just cheer on all the Aussie players and coaches in their English adventure.