One of the surprise transfers from last season, few on either side of the pond knew what quite to make of Janine Beckie’s move to Manchester City from Sky Blue FC. Traded from one of the struggling teams in NWSL to another as part of a trade that saw Carli Lloyd return to New Jersey, the move didn’t promise to be one that got the best out of the Canadian international.
Her 15 matches for Sky Blue passed much without incident or excitement as Beckie continued to struggle to show her best form, a familiar theme from her time with Houston Dash. The unexpected move to Manchester in August of last year one that saw Beckie pushed out of her comfort zone, the Colorado native taking longer to adjust that she had expected.
For Beckie, a successful season for her will be measured in time spent on the pitch and with three cup competitions, a domestic campaign as well as Olympic qualification and potential participation there is plenty of football to be played.
“To be really blunt, just playing time. I just want to be on the pitch. That was really difficult for me last season, I underestimated the transition of coming to a new country and a new league to a league that plays all year round. In the NWSL you play six months and then you’re off for six months, but there’s a lot to be done this year.”
Not a million miles apart but with two cultures that approach football differently, the Canadian international can only see the benefit in more British players going over to play in NWSL as well as more Americans coming over to the WSL.
“When you look at NWSL, it’s a league full of high-calibre athletes and that’s what makes them so dangerous. There’s not many teams, clubs only, who can compete with that for 90 minutes, their power. I think a couple of our players were blown away playing North Carolina, they just have these powerhouse athletes that just go, go, go. I think the league over there could use more players like Keira Walsh, Tyler Toland (our young Irish player who I have been really impressed with since she came in). Keira who can just play passes not a lot of players can play and she brings composure to the game, they’re the kind of players the NWSL need to see more of. I think both sets of players could learn from playing in the opposite league.”
Although Lauren Hemp is currently side-lined with a short-term shoulder injury, Beckie expects the former Bristol City player to step-up and become the go-to goal-getting that many expected Ellen White to be, before her own injury.
“I think across the team it’s going to be a very competitive roster this season, it’s going to be tough to make the eleven every week. When you look at someone like Lauren, she’s so young and so talented and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone faster on the pitch. She’s an exciting young player, she’ll have to figure out how to deal with the pressure, I think that’s a difficult thing for a young player but having lost Ellen for a little while, she’s going to be great for us, but there’s definitely opportunity for the forwards we have on the team.”
Knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid early in the competition last season and falling just short of the league title, the Citizens aren’t taking anything for granted this season, the team drawing added inspiration from Pep Guardiola’s men’s team.
“We definitely have the squad to win trophies this season and follow in the footsteps of the men because they’re a huge inspiration to us. We love to be in the same building as them, there’s a bit of overlap which is really cool. To see them dominate England, we had a conversation as a team and that can definitely be us. We won two of the trophies last year, I have no doubt we can win them again, the league is the big one and obviously everyone dreams of winning the Champions League, but one fixture at a time.”
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