Scottish Women’s Premier League 2016 season launch.
The Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 & 2 seasons have officially launched and its set to be the most exciting season ever, with an all new league format.
It means that in 2016, eight teams will battle it out in each division, playing each other three times through-out the season. Both seasons will kick-off on the 13th of March.
In the SWPL 1, it’s set to be another exciting season after last year’s champions Glasgow City were pushed all the way by Hibernian LFC, with only six points separating the two sides after 19 matches. With Hibernian having added Rachel McLaughlin, Sarah Ewens, Lucy Graham, and Abbi Grant, the Edinburgh side will be hoping the new competitive format will aide their title challenge and of course, their first ever UEFA Women’s Champions League journey.
Abigail Harrison, who signed from Celtic to join Hibernian last season said at the launch of the new SWPL 1 season, “When you’re playing football, whether that be male or female football at any age, it’s something you think wow. It’s Champions League, so to be a part of that this season, everyone is excited.
“We really need to focus on the first half of the season up until August, because we want to maintain our spot there (in the Champions League spaces). So we need to do well in the league.”
Glasgow City have also strengthened their squad for the new season with the signing of Scotland number one, Gemma Fay, as well as Republic of Ireland international players Savannah McCarthy and Ruesha Littlejohn.
Clare Shine, also a Republic of Ireland international, said at the launch of the new season, “Obviously we’re going for 10 in a row, so it’s going to be a massive season and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Hopefully we’ll win the league and the two cups, as well as put a stamp on the Champions League. Hopefully I can play a part in that.”
In SWPL 2 it’s expected to be a tough league between the bottom four teams from last year’s SWPL season and four new faces in the form of Buchan Ladies FC, Glasgow Girls FC, Jeanfield Swifts LFC, and Queen’s Park LFC.
Lauren Kelly of Queen’s Park LFC said, “All the girls in the team are looking forward to it (the start of the SWPL 2 season). We’re all looking forward to a new challenge. We certainly know it’ll be a challenge, especially after bringing a whole new squad in. But, we’re all up for the challenge and willing to participate to head towards promotion.”
Vivienne MacLaren, Director of Media and Communications for Scottish Women’s Football, said ahead of the launch, “The growth of the Women’s game in Scotland over the last few years has been tremendous. The national team reached their highest world ranking of 20th recently* and for the first time ever, two clubs will represent Scotland in the UEFA Women’s Champions League in the form of Glasgow City FC and Hibernian LFC.
“Alongside the fact the National under 17s and under 19s (where all squad players play for Scottish clubs) have all qualified for the Elite Rounds of their Euro Championship campaigns, the signs for the future of the women’s game are very strong.
“We’re also delighted to have implemented a new structure for the leagues ahead of the new season with an eight team SWPL 1 and 2. This will create two strong and competitive leagues, which should in turn lead to highly entertaining seasons and a higher standard of football for all players in the women’s game.”
*Scotland currently are 21st in the FIFA World Rankings, but held the position of 20th as of 25th September 2015
Video: SWPL 2016 season launch
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.