Ahead of the start of the FA Women’s Super League 2 (FA WSL 2) Spring Series, Richard Laverty previews each team.
Previously known as the rather more successful Wembley FC, London Bees joined the FA WSL in 2014 after an unsuccessful attempt four years earlier. The Bees were possibly the most inconsistent team in FA WSL 2 last season but their ability to pluck important wins from thin air was enough to see them finish well clear of the bottom three.
No better sign of that inconsistency was their 2-0 win at Sheffield which saw them make history by reaching the Continental Cup semifinals, just weeks after they’d lost 5-0 to the same opponents at The Hive. Under David Edmondson, the London Bees have built a solid foundation and could be expected to push on throughout 2017.
Where to Find the Bees
The Hive, Edgware
David Edmondson has a raft of experience at the top level after managing Bristol Academy in both FA WSL 1 and the Women’s Champions League. Edmondson also experienced success with Melbourne Victory in Australia before returning last year to manage the Bees.
Should the Bees hope to experience any kind of success this year, having someone like Edmondson in charge of the team will be a big boost.
The young striker may have been one of the best signings of last season’s FA WSL 2. Edmondson was quick to snap Wilson up from QPR after he took over the manager’s job and the striker repaid him with 13 goals over the course of the season — joint highest in the league. Wilson’s goal-scoring exploits were at times the difference between winning and losing and any hopes the Bees have this year will rely partly on Wilson’s ability up front.
Another signing you could credit as one of the best around last season. Goddard was another who was highly rated enough as a teenager to be taken on by Arsenal’s academy before moving to the United States to study at university. Goddard returned last year and started banging in the goals on a regular basis playing behind Wilson and like the striker, Goddard will continue to play a key part this season.
Cooper didn’t look out of place one bit when she made the step up after leaving Brighton halfway through last season. Slotting in at center back, Cooper looked assured from the off and at just 23, has plenty of time before reaching her peak. Brighton’s loss, London Bees’ gain.
One to Watch
The teenager arrived at The Hive at the halfway point of last season and instantly added energy and pace in the Bees’ attack. At just 19, Clarke is one of several at Bees who has played for Arsenal’s youth teams and complements Jo Wilson nicely. While not expected to feature in every game at her age, Clarke will certainly be one to watch during the Spring Series.
After a quiet start to proceedings, London Bees haven’t messed around in recent weeks. Key players such as captain Ashleigh Goddard, Paula Howells, and Jo Wilson have all signed new deals ahead of the Spring Series while the club have announced several new players in the last week.
Lucy Loomes returned to the club after a year at Millwall while the club have been quick to take advantage of Watford’s struggles by adding trio Amber Tullett, Mollie Burgess, and Jordan Littleboy to the squad. Laura May Walkley has also signed after leaving Reading and Anne Meiwald returns to action after a spell on the sideline with Chelsea.
Spring Series Prediction: 5th
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