The 2022/23 season will be Brighton’s fifth in the WSL, and the Seagulls have made their ambitious plans in the WSL clear.
The Seagulls are aiming to break into the league’s top four over the course of the next few years – and this goal is written on the wall of the women’s team’s very own, purpose built, £8m training facility.
Can they take a step closer to their long-term target during the 2022/23 campaign? Here’s 90min’s WSL season preview for Brighton.
Megan Walsh was a huge performer for Brighton last term, as the Seagulls enjoyed a particularly impressive start to the season, winning five of their opening seven games. Walsh kept four clean sheets in the process.
The goalkeeper is a tremendous shot stopper and reliable presence between the sticks, turning in a particularly imperious performance as the Seagulls held WSL champions Chelsea to a 0-0 draw during the 2021/22 season.
Walsh’s performances last term saw her scoop Brighton’s Player of the Year award, and she earned her senior international debut for the Republic of Ireland in February.
One to watch
Veatriki Sarri really stood out for Birmingham during the 2021/22 campaign – an impressive achievement given the WSL’s bottom side were beaten 17 times last term.
Exciting, skilful and direct, the 24-year-old Greek international will add flair and creativity to this Brighton side.
Brighton boss Hope Powell is a stalwart of women’s football. The 55-year-old enjoyed a hugely decorated playing career as an attacking midfielder, before going on to spend 15 years as England manager. She transformed the face of English women’s football, fighting to secure central contracts and guiding the team to the Euro 2009 final.
Although Powell has a steely exterior, her players often praise her warmth and individual player care – England icons Kelly Smith and Fara Williams both speak highly of the support Powell showed them during tough times in their careers. She has been in charge of the Seagulls since 2017.
It’s been a mixed transfer window for Brighton. The departures of Maya Le Tissier, Emma Koivisto and Inessa Kaagman will be three particularly big losses – but the Seagulls have actively attempted to fill the void left by departing players. The addition of Poppy Pattinson could be a shrewd bit of business, while Veatriki Sarri was the bright spark for relegated Birmingham last term.
Brighton have become a comfortable mid-table side during their last two seasons in the WSL, with 2020/21’s sixth place finish particularly impressive. The enjoyed a blistering start to the season last term, and could have finished higher had they not endured a rotten run of six defeats in seven between November and February.
Brighton are one of a number of teams who could hope to register a high top half finish, but given how the traditionally mid-table teams around them have strengthened, this will be no mean feat.
Well organising and capable of competing with the best on their day – they have taken points off WSL champions Chelsea twice in the past two seasons – the Seagulls can aim to better last term’s seventh place finish with a little bit more consistency.