Recent transfer activity, last season’s performance and continued growth off the pitch is helping Aston Villa Women build towards becoming the best of the rest.

Words: Regan Foy | Twitter: @findfoy | Threads: @findfoy


In the most recent Women’s Super League season, Aston Villa Women finished in the ‘best of the rest’ position, just ten points behind Manchester City Women – a side that the Villans remained unbeaten against (one win, one draw in the league, and a win in the FA cup).

With Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all vying for the title and Champions League qualification, the Women’s Super League generally seems to split in two each season, with the side who were slightly less proficient on the pitch sitting in fifth and considered the best of the remaining teams in the league.

It’s a far cry from where the club was in their first season in the league, where Gemma Davies’ side finished just three points above the relegation zone. Carla Ward’s first season in 21/22 was a better performance following further investment in the side, and the Villans finished in 9th – ten points clear from the drop.

Following savvy recruitment that started last summer, however, the side have been able to rough-and-tumble with some of the bigger sides – picking up points fans previously thought unobtainable.

Further investment in the Women’s side have seen big names in English football join in recent years, including France international Kenza Dali, the league’s top scorer in the form of Rachel Daly, and experienced stars like Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs and Manchester United’s Lucy Staniforth.


This summer already has seen a number of transfers take place, both in and out of the club.

Notably, England goalkeeper Hannah Hampton has left the club on a free transfer upon the expiry of her contract – joining Women’s Super League champions Chelsea.

She was replaced by a free transfer of the club’s own, in the form of Dutch 23-year-old goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar, who’s FC Twente contract expired this summer. The goalkeeper made her Netherland’s debut in February 2022 and was a part of the side’s Euro 2022 squad last summer, helping the side reach the quarter-finals.

Boss Carla Ward was quick to heap praise on van Domselaar, stating she has “great pedigree” and “potential to be one of the world’s best”.

Another signing came today, in the form of highly-rated defender Lucy Parker. After spending a number of years playing in the American system, 24-year-old Parker spent the last two impressing for West Ham – making 40 appearances across her time at the club.

Parker received her maiden England call-up in September of last year, but injury prevented any thoughts of a debut. Regardless, she is highly thought of by national team boss Sarina Wiegman and will make another excellent addition to this transforming Aston Villa Women squad.

Each signing seems to be more impressive than the last at Aston Villa Women and the side are comparatively growing at a similar incline to the men’s side. With a constantly evolving and improving playing staff, the expectation continues to increase year-on-year, but Carla Ward has so far been able to deliver.

Whisper it quietly, but Aston Villa Women are building a squad capable of challenging for the top four and knocking on the door of some of the bigger sides in the league. They will be looking to build on their impressive fifth place finish as they move into the new season – but it may be a step too far to consider European qualification just yet. Even finishing fifth again would be a huge achievement and would help the side secure that ‘best of the rest’ mantle.

What’s next, and who may be next through the door? Regardless, we’re sure it’ll be impressive.

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