The Women’s Super League has become the best in the world | Guro Reiten | Football

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I will definitely never forget my first Women’s Super League title. My Chelsea teammates and I were asked to join a Zoom call so I logged in from Norway during a camping trip. Emma Hayes came on and, all of a sudden, popped open a bottle of champagne: “We’ve won the league!” It felt so weird to find out we had won it on points per game and, although it was a fantastic reward for all our work, I hope we don’t have to celebrate that way again.

We want to repeat the trick in front of our fans, but first we need to overcome the challenges the next few months will present. It is going to be an incredible season and we can safely say, looking around the division, that the bar has been raised. Top players are flocking to England and I am not surprised. This has become the best league in the world and when you see the names coming here, it gets proved over and over again.

One of those names, Pernille Harder, has just joined us at Chelsea and I’m very excited. Who wouldn’t want her on their team? We want to be the best and she can only improve us. The same can be said for Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis at Manchester City; they will help push women’s football in England forward, and they also know they will be playing in a competition with tremendous depth.

There are so many good teams here now. We saw it throughout last season, for example when Liverpool held us to a draw despite struggling all season. People are realising what a good product this is and I was delighted to hear WSL games will be shown in the US next season, on NBC. It shows this is now a truly global league; I think there are many people who have wanted to see us play but never really had the chance, and now opportunities are coming.

I can look at my national team, Norway, to see how times have changed. There are eight or nine of us here, which never used to be the case. The English league is just a different world to the circumstances in which I came through. When I played back home I was happy with how we did things because it was all I knew. But it is so professional here, from the start of the day until the end, and it means everything can be as we want it.

Sam Mewis, one of two USA World Cup winners to have joined Manchester City, in pre-season training.



Sam Mewis, one of two USA World Cup winners to have joined Manchester City, in pre-season training. Photograph: Matt McNulty/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

It was difficult during the lockdown, firstly due to the uncertainty over whether the league would continue and then because we would be living from week to week without knowing what would come next. For a footballer who usually knows they have a game on Sunday, that’s hard. But it was great to come back and you can see in training that everyone is really happy. We then translated that into a good victory over City in the Community Shield – my first time at Wembley, which was fun even if the stadium was empty. It was a great start for us, especially given we didn’t really know where we stood and felt slightly nervous. So to win a match between the two best sides in England was a big confidence boost, even if both teams clearly still have a few things to improve.

This will be my second season in English football and I have felt more comfortable all the time. I was really happy with my performances, although I expect more from myself and will keep pushing. We have such good attacking options at Chelsea – Beth England, Sam Kerr, Erin Cuthbert, Fran Kirby, Niamh Charles, me and of course now Pernille – that the manager has some great choices to make. We all have different qualities and I feel this team has a bit of everything. Hard work will be required if we are to win everything this season, which I really think we can do. As long as we are at our level every week I don’t think there will be a team that can beat us.

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Manchester United will be trying to do exactly that in our opener on Sunday, though. It is a mouthwatering way to start and they are a good example of the quality beneath last season’s top three. We will have to watch out for Lauren James, for one thing, and keep a close eye on how they want to play.

Hopefully it will be an entertaining game and set the tone for a huge year ahead. Women’s football built up rapid momentum before the shutdown and we want to make sure that keeps moving. If the season ends with Chelsea winning titles without needing a Zoom announcement, then that will be even better.

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