Richard Laverty previews each team before the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL 1) Spring Series begins on April 22.
After a torrid 2015, Birmingham City came rampaging back last year as David Parker and Marcus Bignot performed a miracle by returning Birmingham to the top half of the league and a Continental Cup final despite losing key players in the offseason. Despite that, both manager and coach departed over the winter along with striker Kirsty Linnett but that hasn’t stopped Birmingham once again defying the odds by beating both of last year’s FA Cup finalists to reach Wembley this season.
Where to Find Birmingham
Automated Group Technology Stadium, Solihull
After spending several years working with Birmingham’s youth teams and the new Regional Talent Centers, Marc Skinner got his chance to step up to the top job after David Parker and Marcus Bignot departed after the 2016 season finished. Skinner has wasted no time in impressing by masterminding wins over Arsenal and Chelsea and with just a few months in the job under his belt, Skinner will lead his players out at Wembley next month.
The absolute rock at the back for Birmingham; after so many years of service to the club through thick and thin, few deserve their big day out at Wembley more than the new club captain. A superb center back who can also play out on the left, Harrop has helped and nurtured Birmingham’s young talents like Aoife Mannion and Jess Carter, and will continue to be a key player for as long as she remains at the club.
One of the most talented young players in the country, Carter can play across defense or in midfield and has shown maturity beyond her years. One of the key players in Birmingham’s revival last year, Carter’s form has been rewarded in recent weeks by her first senior England call-up and a nomination from her fellow peers for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Looking for a new challenge after dropping out of the Paris Saint-Germain’s side last year, Berger has shown just why she was once wanted by one of Europe’s top sides during her short time in England. Unbelievable in last year’s Continental Cup final, it’s fair to say Birmingham probably wouldn’t have been looking forward to having a day out at Wembley without some of Berger’s heroics against Chelsea last weekend.
One to Watch
An apt name in football terms for someone who plays with so much verve and composure for her teenage years. Brazil has become an integral part of Birmingham’s squad already and was trusted to start the cup semifinal against Chelsea as well as becoming an important part of the England U-19 set up under Mo Marley since the turn of the year. Brazil is capable of playing in several forward positions and is an undoubted star of the future.
Unlike some other clubs in the FA WSL, Birmingham City wasted no time in improving their squad despite the departure of their manager over the winter. The departure of Linnett to Notts County was an early blow that was soon softened by the arrival of penalty shootout hero Ellen White and Reading star Emma Follis.
The club also added talented young midfielder Sarah Mayling and left back Paige Williams to their squad as well as tying down the likes of Carter to new contracts over the winter months.