Sydney FC has landed a huge coup on the eve of the Westfield W-League season with USA World Cup starlet Megan Rapinoe signing on to play a two-match guest stint.
Rapinoe was on hand when the Football Federation Australia (FFA) launched the Westfield W-League 2011/12 season in Sydney, where she was full of praise for the women’s game in Australia.
“I’ve seen quite a bit of football in Australia over the past three years as I’ve come over a lot when the W-League has been on,” said Rapinoe.
“I think the standard of play in Australia has improved over the past few years along with the standard across women’s football in general internationally.
“I’m really looking forward to play with Sydney FC for the first time, I’ve trained with them a lot recently and they are a great group of girls and are really improving.”
The launch was attended by a host of Westfield W-League and international women’s football stars to showcase the exciting season ahead of the opening weekend of fixtures which will see Westfield W-League 2011 Champions Brisbane Roar take on Sydney FC in a Westfield W-League 2011 Grand Final re-match at Leichhardt Oval.
Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory and Sydney FC will again challenge for the Westfield W-League title with strong recruitment in the off-season leaving the Championship wide open.
While the Westfield W-League regularly sees more international players coming into the league this year true stars of the women’s game will take the field in with Sydney FC trio Rapinoe, Estelle Johnson and Alison Lipshier joined by German two time FIFA Women’s World Cup winning, four time UEFA European Cup winning defender Ariane Hingst (Newcastle Jets).
This season also sees a host of new coaches enter the league, adapting styles of play and refreshing the Westfield W-League in season four.
For the first time international coaches come directly into the league with Canberra United bringing in former Czech Republic international Jitka Klimkova, while Adelaide United have appointed former New Zealand U17s coach David Edmondson.
Westfield W-League 2011/12 will see the seven team competition play 35 matches over the 12 week season from the October 21 kick-off and finish on January 28 with the Westfield W-League 2012 Grand Final.
ABC TV will again cover the ‘match of the week’ live and exclusive on ABC1 throughout the 14 week competition that includes the Westfield W-League 2012 Finals Series.