It has been a summer season of giant change at Brighton. Whereas many golf equipment made a number of signings – and gamers of top quality too – it’s the Seagulls who’ve most strongly signalled their intent to compete with the WSL’s elite this season with their arrivals.
Chatting with supervisor Melissa Phillips and a collection of gamers in pre-season, it’s simply the beginning of an thrilling challenge on the membership, with a rebirth actually wanted after a turbulent 2022/23 season.
After two mid-table finishes and the skilled head of Hope Powell main the way in which, it was hoped the Seagulls can be in retailer for one more stable marketing campaign – and even higher.
However maybe the crux of their points rested on the departure of Maya Le Tissier to Manchester United that summer season. There was little in the way in which of a alternative for one of many league’s most promising younger defenders.
Objectives weren’t an downside essentially – scoring 26 occasions, the eighth-highest within the league – however retaining them out on the different finish was. The truth is, it was an 8-0 thrashing by Tottenham that noticed Powell relieved of her managerial duties after 5 years with the membership.
Amy Merricks was twice named as interim supervisor, sandwiched both aspect of Jens Scheuer’s 65-day tenure. He oversaw six matches, three of which have been WSL defeats, and there have been experiences that his ‘forthright’ managerial model was a trigger for concern on the membership.
However Brighton now seem to have settled into stability as soon as once more below former London Metropolis Lionesses supervisor Phillips. Two wins and a draw within the ultimate seven league video games of the season was sufficient for the Seagulls to complete eleventh, above Studying, even after dropping in a final-day relegation showdown with Leicester.
Highlights of the Girls’s Tremendous League match between Brighton and Leicester from the ultimate day of the 2022/23 season
It was not all battle, although, as Brighton reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Nevertheless, they have been overwhelmed 3-2 in an entertaining fixture by Manchester United in Phillips’ first match in cost.
This summer season, Brighton’s squad went by a much-needed shake-up. Numerous stalwarts departed, together with captain Victoria Williams, Danielle Carter and Kayleigh Inexperienced. All in all, 13 gamers left the membership, together with three out on mortgage.
However 11 incomings, oozing in worldwide expertise and high quality, present simply how formidable Brighton and Phillips are.
“From the surface wanting in earlier than I acquired right here, Brighton has a superb platform to go and be aggressive,” the Seagulls supervisor instructed Sky Sports activities.
“The membership may be very formidable and we have proven our ambitions this summer season with the flexibility to signal high-calibre gamers and actually revamp the squad.
Brighton did attain the FA Cup semi-finals final season regardless of their league struggles
“It is a large rebuild and we all know issues aren’t going to occur in a single day. It is a lengthy journey and an extended season, however we’re excited by the progress and the brand new faces within the constructing, the recent power and simply wanting ahead to shifting ahead this yr.
“We’ve a pre-season below our belt and gamers getting back from the World Cup, new signings coming in, however in the end, we’re targeted on the mixing, communication and id of the staff and doing that as shortly as potential. We all know we’ll develop all through the season, however it’s been a extremely enjoyable pre-season.”
The transformation started in mid-June, when Pauline Bremer was introduced as the primary signing of the summer season from final season’s Champions League runners-up, Wolfsburg.
The midfielder can be a coup for a lot of groups, however particularly a aspect that completed second-to-last within the WSL simply 4 months in the past. Bremer is a multi-trophy winner, profitable league and European titles at Lyon, in addition to the League and FA Cup whereas at Manchester Metropolis.
Bremer joined Brighton after being enticed by the challenge in movement on the membership, which has seen a wealth of nationalities now represented within the squad.
“It feels actually good. I am loving it to date,” she instructed Sky Sports activities Information. “Pre-season has been nice, having fun with the seashore after all, but in addition the laborious work with the staff. I am excited to get began.
“We set excessive objectives. I am actually excited by the challenge and to construct a staff right here that may be actually profitable. Everyone knows it wants a little bit of time, however we’re all excited.
“I feel we’ve 13 completely different cultures now, it is actually worldwide. I feel that makes it actually fascinating and the range is a high quality as effectively and we use it in the best approach. It has been busy however good to get all these top quality gamers in and to construct a staff collectively.
“Final season was a bit tough, I watched it from the surface however being right here now, everybody needs extra and desires to climb the desk. I feel we’ve every little thing we have to do that [finish in the top half], it is simply getting issues proper and placing within the laborious work now to achieve success this season.”
If Bremer’s arrival indicated how formidable Brighton have been going to be, their subsequent signing confirmed it.
Vicky Losada is a reputation synonymous with Barcelona, who’ve damaged the French and German stranglehold in European soccer. Having come by the membership’s famed La Masia academy, she had three spells with the Liga F champions, profitable 15 main titles, together with the membership’s first Champions League in 2021.
The truth is, at virtually each membership she has performed for, she has received trophies, together with Arsenal, Man Metropolis and final season at Roma. A participant of such stature would have a decide of locations, and like Bremer, spoke of the Brighton challenge as a pretty issue.
Chatting with the membership’s official web site, she stated: “I feel ladies’s soccer is rising and that Brighton has a extremely good challenge that they need to develop every single day.
“The truth that Mel Phillips needed me is an enormous factor, and I really feel I can deliver a whole lot of expertise to the squad and assist the younger gamers.
“I am very aggressive and a tough employee. For me, the staff is the very first thing, so I all the time put the staff earlier than the participant. I feel that is necessary if you wish to create a great surroundings which may obtain good issues sooner or later.
“I feel it [her experience] is essential, particularly with the younger gamers. I do know that there are different skilled gamers come into the squad and I feel that mixture is ideal to create one thing actually good.”
Goalkeeper Nicky Evrard additionally signed on mortgage from Chelsea for the season. One other participant jam-packed with worldwide expertise, she is Belgium’s No 1 and was very important as her nation reached the Euro 2022 quarter-finals final summer season.
She was quickly joined by fellow stopper Sophie Baggaley from Manchester United, becoming a member of former United team-mate defender Maria Thorisdottir on the south coast. The latter too has loads of first staff and worldwide expertise with Norway.
However it’s also maybe not the best shock that Brighton have managed to land such expertise. The recruitment for the boys’s aspect has been among the finest within the Premier League for years, with that now being mirrored within the ladies’s staff. It exhibits simply how severely the membership views Phillips and her squad.
With that being stated, simply what’s the Brighton challenge that has attracted such backing from the membership with a number of high-calibre signings?
On the core, it is going to actually be to enhance on their league end final season and make themselves aggressive among the many WSL’s elite.
That begins with the gamers at your disposal, and Phillips additionally supplied an perception into how she has characterised her summer season recruitment drive.
“It is about discovering the best individuals and what’s that, how do you outline it?,” she instructed Sky Sports activities.
“We shared our imaginative and prescient with the membership and the gamers we went after. Finally, we needed to verify the individuals we purchased in shared the ambition and values with the membership, shared the need to develop and stretch themselves and as such, we really feel we acquired actually good characters, actually good leaders and actually good human beings, at the beginning.
Melissa Phillips is making ready for her first full season as Brighton supervisor with a powerful summer season of incomings
“After all, then the technical qualities, the expertise, the athleticism, these components all performed a component in it. We’re actually comfortable the place we’re at and the gamers we have purchased in.
“The thrilling half about our new signings is you possibly can stroll by the door with that staff right now and it would not really feel like there’s 11 new faces as a result of they’ve actually meshed effectively. They’re like-minded characters and bold. It has been enjoyable to be a part of the group.
“We need to compete within the prime half of the desk, I feel that is actually necessary, and we’ve to be per our performances to do this and be aggressive as effectively.”
After all, the proof of all the above will come as soon as the season begins on October 1 as Brighton journey to Everton.
Phillips confronted Brian Sorensen’s staff twice in her brief tenure on the finish of final season. She received her first league recreation in opposition to the Toffees 3-2, however slipped to a 2-1 defeat within the reverse fixture in Might.
Brighton beat Everton in Melissa Phillip’s first WSL recreation in cost, and face them once more on the opening weekend
Reflecting on these fixtures, the Seagulls boss stated: “Each have been aggressive matches, each actually tight as effectively that have been received and misplaced on the tail finish of the sport. We anticipate a whole lot of high quality from them in possession, as they have been final yr.
“The opening recreation of the WSL, everybody goes to be excited for it and for it to be 100 miles per hour, so it is about how we handle momentum and put our stamp on the sport.”
Nevertheless, the most important take a look at of how a lot this rejuvenated Brighton squad can obtain will come once they face final season’s prime 4 in successive video games between October and November. Not solely will followers be on the lookout for their new stars to carry out, but in addition take factors in opposition to the large groups within the tightest of leagues.
One factor that’s for certain is the quantity of optimism and focus there may be at Brighton heading into a brand new season. It’s a recent begin for the Seagulls with challenges to return, however Phillips has armed her squad with the best instruments to make it a profitable marketing campaign.
The best way to observe the WSL on Sky Sports activities
Observe all the newest from the Girls’s Tremendous League throughout SkySports.com and app, together with unique options and interviews, plus devoted stay weblog protection and in-game clips from video games stay on Sky Sports activities.
You too can watch free match highlights from each WSL recreation this season on Sky Sports activities’ digital platforms and YouTube channel, whereas all matches will proceed to be proven on each Sky Sports activities Soccer, in addition to on Sky Showcase, obtainable in all Sky houses, even with out a Sky Sports activities package deal, giving the competitors larger visibility.
Alongside protection and visibility for the league throughout all Sky Sports activities’ foremost social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will proceed to be the house of all Barclays FA WSL content material on Sky Sports activities.
The Sky Sports activities WSL TikTok account provides followers 360° protection of the league and granting them unique entry to their new favorite gamers. By way of enjoyable challenges and interviews, together with behind-the-scenes footage, viewers will get to know the WSL’s array of personalities and see the game from a brand new set of angles.
In the meantime, followers also can preserve updated with every little thing on and off the pitch with the return of Three Gamers and a Podcast, hosted by Caroline Barker.