The biggest and most competitive SWPL season to dat is set to kick off this Sunday, and there has never been a better time to get involved.
As the growth of the women’s game continues to snowball, a re-branding took place at an event to launch the league at Hampden Park on Thursday.
The re-brand and new league structure will see the SWPL become a 12-team top flight, with a fixtures split after two rounds of fixtures – similar to the Scottish Premiership.
Undoubtedly a successful summer for women’s football, the European Championship has sparked further interest and intrigue and top flight teams, such as Rangers, have now launched women’s season tickets for the very first time.
With now three fully-professional clubs – Rangers, Glasgow City and Celtic – combined with a smattering of sides turning semi-pro this summer, it is the perfect time get involved with and support the women’s game in Scotland.
However, if you are new to the game, we’ve put together a simple, handy guide for each side competing in this season’s top tier campaign.
The Dons debut season in the SWPL was one to savour, as they finished a well deserved fifth. Can they repeat that performance – or even break the top four?
In short – yes, because while their youthful side may lack experience, it certainly doesn’t lack talent and with that first positive year behind them, the sky is the limit.
Manager: Emma Hunter
Last season: 5th
Key player: Bayley Hutchison
The Scotland u19 star has grown from prospect to MVP due to her knack of being in the right place at the right. A goalscorer who could fire Aberdeen up the SWPL hierarchy.
Talented youngster: Francesca Ogilvie
Still just 21-years-old, she was handed the vice-captaincy of the club in the summer for obvious reason. A leader on the pitch, she plays well beyond her years and is one of many key youngsters at the Dons.
Transfers in: Eirinn McCafferty (unattached)
Transfers out: Louise Brown (Montrose), Carrie Doig, Kelly Forrest (both retired), Johan Fraser (Dundee United)
A cup double for the Hoops last year softened the blow of a third-placed finish, but Fran Alonso’s side will be looking to go one better the year and make a real go at claiming the SWPL title – and it is certainly within their reach.
Well drilled and organised, the Ghirls also have some real raw talent throughout their ranks, though Charlie Welling’s move to WSL side Reading leaves a huge a gap upfront.
Head Coach: Fran Alonso
Last season: 3rd
Key player: Jacynta
It is hard to look beyond the former West Ham United playmaker as Celtic’s star player, such is her raw ability. She won last season’s SWPL young player of the season and, on form, few are as effective as her in the SWPL.
Talented youngster: Rachael Johnstone
Still a teenager, Johnstone was a star in the Celtic nets last year as they delivered a cup double. Already in the national team set-up, it is set to be a big campaign for her.
Transfers in: Lucy Ashworth Clifford (Lewes), Amy Gallagher (Hibs), Shen Menglu (Ourense)
Transfers out: Jodie Bartle, Cheyanne Shorts, María Ólafsdóttir Gros (end of contract), Izzy Atkinson (West Ham United), Annie Timoney (Glentoran), Chloe Warrington (Glasgow City), Charlie Wellings (Reading), Olivier Potter (Hamilton – loan)
The Tangerines stormed the SWPL-2 last year, winning the title at an absolute canter. Can they replicate Partick Thistle and Aberdeen in adapting to the top tier without too much trouble?
They will certainly back themselves to be able to do so, and will hope to establish themselves in the new 12-team league.
Manager: Emma Hunter
Last season: 1st in SWPL-2
Key player: Jade McClaren
One of the stars of last season’s title run, McClaren is one of United’s player who should be able to make the step up without too many issues – which will be vital to them being competitive this season.
Talented youngster: Clare Delworth
A regular at full back for Hearts over the past couple of years, former youth international Delworth moved to the newly promoted side in the summer and is a player with real potential.
Transfers in: Clare Delworth (Hearts), Fiona McNicol (unattached), Jodie Malcolm, Ellie Mitchell, Ciara Bonner (Stirling University), Johan Fraser (Aberdeen), Emily Arthur (Academy), Lisa Ryan (Spartans)
Transfers out: Erin Ross, Megan Burns (Montrose)
The most successful side in Scottish women’s football had to be content with a runners-up place last year, for the first time in 15 seasons.
However, former Republic of Ireland assistant Eileen Gleeson has wasted no time adding bags of experience and quality to her side in the summer, not to mention highly-rated Kinga Kozak and Mexico’s legendary forward Desirée Monsiváis.
Could City be set for a revenge tour in 22/23?
Head Coach: Eileen Gleeson
Last season: 2nd
Key player: Hayley Lauder
The experienced midfielder has shown some of her best form over the past year, with her leadership on the field really coming to the fore.
One of the best dead ball specialists in the league, Lauder can’t count herself unlucky to have not recently received the international recall she absolutely deserves.
Talented youngster: Jenna Clark
A fully fledged Scottish international already, the defender has bags of Champions League experience despite her young years. Seen as one of the countries most talented youngsters.
Transfers in: Amy Muir (Hibs), Chloe Warrington (Celtic), Kinga Kozak (Czarni Sosnowiec), Erin Greening (Klepp), Dilan Bora (Fenerbache), Emily Whelan (Birmingham City), Abbi Grant (Leicester City), Desirée Monsiváis (Monterrey), Maikayla Moore (Liverpool)
Transfers out: Niamh Farrelly (Parma), Tyler Dodds (Sunderland), Agata Filipa (Servette), Vital Kats (Braga), Mya Bates (Spartans), Kerry Beattie (Glentoran), Julia Molin, Ode Fulutudilu (end of contract)
Finishing second in the SWPL-2 last season, Glasgow Women join the top tier for the first time. A change in manager during the summer means they enter the campaign with a brand new name at the helm, though they will look to emulate Partick Thistle and stay out of the relegation dogfight.
However, the loss of player of the season Cara Henderson is a big blow.
Manager: Andy Gardner
Last season: 2nd in SWPL-2
Key player: Shivohn Honeyman
Glasgow Women fans could breathe a sigh of relief when a new deal was announced for the midfielder just yesterday. The number 8 was vital in last season’s promotion campaign, and will be even more important as they adjust to the top tier.
Talented youngster: Hannah Cunningham
The youngster was signed from Rangers this summer and will inject some much needed top flight experience into the Glasgow side.
Transfers in: Megan Mason (unattached), Molly Reeve, Shelley Campbell (Kilmarnock)
Transfers out: Cara Henderson, Kaitlyn Canavan, Leah Robinson (Partick Thistle)
They finished bottom of the pile last year, however, aided by extra year’s top flight experience and some excellent summer signings, Accies could be this season’s surprise.
Defensively, Accies conceded less goals than seventh placed Motherwell last season, with their main issues coming at the other end of the pitch. However, if they can fix that, there’s no reason this season can’t be more than solid for them. With a number of excellent youngsters joining in the summer too, Accies have recruited well.
Manager: Gary Doctor
Last season: 10th
Key player: Josi Giard
The former Celtic forward has shown her abilities at SWPL for a number of years now and will be an important player for Accies. Goals, goals and more goals will be the hopes for Hamilton fans this campaign, and those hopes will be mainly rested on Giard.
Talented youngster: Lucy Sinclair
A virtual ever present for Accies last year, Sinclair picked up valuable experience despite still being just 19. This season she could make a huge impact.
Transfers in: Eilidh Martin, Chloe Nicolson (Rangers), Morgan Hay (Celtic), Kayleigh Mitchell (Glasgow City), Summer Christie (Celtic), Olivia Potter (Celtic – loan)
Transfers out: Fiona Currie, Nic Sturrock, Georgie McTear (end of contract)
There can be no denying that the Edinburgh side have had one of the best – and most intriguing – summers.
A move to become a semi-professional outfit has allowed the Jambos to bring in several highly rated professionals full time, all of which should help them look up the table, as opposed to down the table.
Could they trouble the top four? That certainly appears to be the plan.
Head coach: Eva Olid
Last season: 8th
Key player: Katie Rood
A number of Hearts’ new recruits could be labelled as ‘key’, however, goals win games and that’s exactly what the New Zealand international brings to the team.
Olid’s side simply did not score enough last year, turning in an average of less than a goal a game and former Southampton striker Rood will almost certainly fix that.
Talented youngster: Jenny Smith
Having wracked up more than 80 appearances in Edinburgh, it’s hard to believe the former youth international is still just 20-years-old. Capable across numerous positions in the midfielder, Smith is still one of the Jambos most talented.
Transfers in: Emma Brownlie, Ciara Grant (Rangers), Georgia Timms, Katie Rood (Southampton), Rebecca McAllister (Celtic), Jenna Penman (Hibs), Ocean Rolandsen (Sheffield United)
Transfers out: Clare Delworth (Dundee United), Tegan Browning (US College system), Beth McKay (Partick Thistle), Ailey Tebbett (Hibs), Clare Williamson (Boroughmuir Thistle)
By Hibs standards, it has been a disappointing couple of seasons. The regular title challengers have had to make do with two fourth placed finishes recently, but their summer transfer business looks like it may loft them back into the top three – at least.
Dean Gibson has also picked up a valuable two years of SWPL experience and, aided by some really impressive new recruits, he’ll be looking to ensure Hibs are back where they surely feel they belong.
Head coach: Dean Gibson
Last season: 4th
Key player: Shannon McGregor
While it has been the new recruits that have grabbed the headlines, it has been McGregor that has looked the sharpest in pre-season. An important player for the Edinburgh side for a number of years, the midfielder could be ready for lift off in 22/23.
Talented youngster: Ava Kuyken
Few clubs in the SWPL will be able to boast the potential shown by England U19 international Kuyken. Beginning her career in the Women’s Super League with Arsenal, she played 27 times for Bristol City in the English Championship last year. A huge coup for Hibs.
Transfers in: Poppy Lawson (Manchester United), Ava Kuyken (Bristol City), Crystal Thomas (Orlando Pride), Liana Hinds (IBV), Ailey Tebbett (Hearts), Krystyna Freda, Eleni Giannou (Apollon), Benedicte Håland (Hellas Verona), Nor Mustafa (La Havre)
Transfers out: Colette Cavanagh (Rangers), Gabby English (retired), Amy Muir (Glasgow City), Amy Gallagher (Celtic), Jenna Penman (Hearts), Ria McCaffertey (Spartans), Alexa Coyle, Eve Donald (end of contract), Emily Mutch, Lucy Ronald (Motherwell)
An experienced boss, combined with experienced players such as Leanne Crichton helped Motherwell progress further last year, after struggling during the 19/20 campaign.
Conceding goals remained a problem last year, with 75 goals conceded, but a youthful attacking line meant they established themselves in the SWPL, and almost took fifth spot at point. This season, ‘Well will look to push on further.
Manager: Paul Brownlie
Last season: 7th
Key player: Amy Anderson
The former Hamilton captain joined the club she supported from birth last year and made a big impact on the pitch.
Despite it being a step up a division, Anderson consistently look at ease and was excellent alongside Scotland legend Leanne Crichton in the engine room.
Talented youngster: London Pollard
If the Scottish youngster can reach her potential, the country has a very talent striker on their hands – let alone Motherwell.
Transfers in: Brogan Anderson (Boroughmuir Thistle), Emily Mutch, Lucy Ronald (Hibs), Emma Lawton (Manchester City)
Transfers out: Katie Andrews, Courtney Whye, Abbie Skelton,Ciara Duff (end of contract), Jordan McLintock, Claire Adams (Partick Thistle)
Despite being tipped to finish rock bottom, Thistle became one of the toughest and most organised sides in the league in 21/22. They also made it all the way to the Scottish Cup semi-final thanks to a memorable 4-2 win over Hibs at Petershill.
Now they’ve established themselves, Thistle will look to show further improvement under the wing of impressive young coach Brian Graham.
Head coach: Brian Graham
Last season: 9th
Key player: Cara Henderson
Arguably the best player in the second tier last term, the former Glasgow Women and Celtic midfielder was snapped up by Thistle early on. A talented playmaker, Henderson could be vital to a Thistle side looking to stay well clear of the drop zone this year.
Talented youngster: Taylor Fisher
The former Glasgow City forward will be looking forward to having her first full season at Thistle, where she has the potential to develop into one of the league’s best young forwards.
Transfers in: Cara Henderson, Kaitlyn Canavan, Leah Robinson (Glasgow Women), Jordan McLinktock, Claire Adams (Motherwell), Beth McKay (Hearts), Megan Cunningham (Rangers – loan)
Transfers out: Katie Andrews, Courtney Whye, Abbie Skelton,Ciara Duff (end of contract), Jordan McLintock, Claire Adams (Partick Thistle)
The Edinburgh side have shown growth season upon season under a top boss.
With one of the most experienced goalscorers in the league, their combination of some of Scotland’s most highly rated youngsters has been paying dividends over the last 18 months. They will want to have a crack at breaking the top five again – and expect them to be there or thereabouts.
Head coach: Debbi McCulloch
Last season: 6th
Key player: Becky Galbraith
The experienced striker IS Spartans. As lethal as any other striker in the league, she has that glorious knack of just knowing where the goal is. She will be complemented well by Scotland youth internationals like Mya Bates this season, and will likely be amongst the league’s top scorers once again.
Talented youngster: Hannah Jordan
Joining from Rangers in the summer, the midfielder was one of several Gers stars who showed immense promise. With regular game time, Jordan could become a real star this season.
Transfers in: Mya Bates (Glasgow City), Hannah Robinson, Hannah Jordan (Rangers), Ria McCafferty (Hibs), Nicola Jamieson (St Johnstone)
Transfers out: Lisa Ryan (Dundee United)
It was a memorable season for Rangers last year, as they lifted their first ever SWPL title. An unbeaten season will be a hard act to follow, but further squad strengthening to an already strong squad means they still enter the season as title favourites.
An ACL injury to key striker Jane Ross is a blow, but with Lizzie Arnot, Kirsty Howat and Kayla McCoy, the Gers will have more than enough in their ranks to cope.
Head Coach: Malky Thomson
Last season: 1st
Key player: Lizzie Arnot
The former Manchester United winger has been one of Thomson’s best signings since he took over two years ago, with the experienced Scotland international hitting double figures two seasons on the bounce.
Talented youngster: Emma Watson
The Blue Belles are not short on talented youngsters, but dynamic midfielder Watson seems to be the pick of the bunch. She could quite easily be the name on everyone’s lips comes the end of the campaign.
Transfers in: Kathryn Hill (Rangers), Dina Orschmann (Potsdam), Victoria Essen (SC Sand), Colette Cavanagh (Hibs), Lisa Martinez (Montpellier), Julia Danielsson (AIK), Hannah Davison (AIK)
Transfers out: Brianna Westrup, Chantelle Swaby (end of contract), Kirsten Reilly (Crystal Palace), Emma Brownlie (Hearts), Ciara Grant (Hearts), Chloe Nicolson (Hamilton), Hannah Jordan (Spartans), Megan Cunningham (Partick Thistle - loan), Rosie Slater (Partick Thistle).