#001 - Secret Superstars in WoSo - Part I
Players who hide in plain sight and work in the shadows for the success of their teams.
In world football there isn’t enough plaudits for everyone to get their due recognition, much less so in WoSo and among all the discourse surrounding the superstars of the game, some players get lost in translation. This series will focus on getting the discourse started around such players in women’s football.
Every installment of this series will focus on 2 players from various leagues (preferably from non-UWCL or Champion sides) that are having brilliant campaigns for their respective sides.
Yui Hasegawa (24, West Ham, AM/LM)
Hasegawa joined West Ham in the summer after a brilliant 6 month spell with AC Milan and she has made her mark in the WSL. Famously scoring and assisting in West Ham 2-0 win over Man City earlier in the season, Hasegawa is crucial to how Ollie Harder’s side attack.
Hasegawa brings in a blend of creative zap and ball progression that is bound to improve teams in possession. Her nimble footed nature and low center of gravity on the ball make her an excellent dribbler and her burst of pace helps us draw fouls for her team. Her vision to pick out incisive passes and play line breaking passes consistently is absolutely fantastic. She is a magician with the ball at her feet. Her close control in tight spaces make her extremely press resistant.
Hasegawa is one of the best ball progressors in the league this season via her passing and ball carrying. She is at the heart of stitching up attacking play for West Ham.
Hasegawa made waves in 2014 playing for little Nadeshiko and helping them to an U17 WWC title, ever since that whether it’s Nippon TV Beleza, AC Milan, West Ham or Nadeshiko Japan, no matter the team she played in, she has always delivered.
Maya Le Tissier (19, Brighton, CB/RB)
Maya Le Tissier, a player who made headlines by being the first female to play in a male under-16 match between Guernsey and Jersey, has been one of the brightest footballing prospects in English football. A mainstay in Hope Powell’s side, Maya joined the Seagulls in 2018 and got her senior debut after a couple of months in the development squad.
In modern football when ball-playing defenders are all the rage and Maya fits the billing perfectly. A versatile ball playing defender, who has been Brighton’s primary source of ball progression in the last 2 seasons. She is also an excellent under pressure & is often Brighton’s “get out of jail card” from these situation. She is Brighton’s primary source of final third entry. She is solid in her 1v1 defensive duels making her a risk averse option in and out of possession.
Fueled with an ambition to be better than Lucy Bronze in the future, MLT looks very much on course to achieve that. Having captained the youth national teams at U15 and U17 levels, Maya is someone who is ready to put in the hard yards and play in whatever role her team needs her in, Maya has the recipe to be successful.
Serie A Femmenile
Kamila Dubcová (22, Sassuolo, CM)
Sassuolo are a youthful, exciting and free scoring team under the manager Piovani. Last season they scored the 2nd most goals with 47 in the league only behind Juventus. In 21/22, they sit joint 2nd with 25 points having scored 23 goals in 11 games only behind Roma and Juventus. The attacking talent in the 442 diamond stands out and Dubcová is one player that flies under the radar in all this.
A left sided attacking #8 in the team, Dubcová stands out with her qualities on the ball. After 9 goals + 5 assists in 20/21, Dubcová has picked up with 4 goals + 4 assists this season already. Her ability to float across the pitch and offer options in between the lines or out wide coupled with her excellent touches in these situations make her standout.
Her set-piece prowess makes her a weapon from dead-ball situations. She can deliver a peach perfect delivery from set-pieces and corners.
Dubcová is among the top 20 players with the highest on-ball value in the big 5 leagues this season, which again underlines her importance in making things tick for Sassuolo. A nifty signing that flies undetected while delivering the goods.
Annamaria Serturini (23, AS Roma, Winger)
Another player who made her mark at the U17 FIFA WWC 2014 (man that was some tournament) when Italy finished 3rd. She is also a Brescia alumnus much like a lot of Italian superstars (Bonansea, Girelli, Giacinti, Cernoia and Boattin to name a few). At 20, she became the youngest player to be called up for Italy at the FIFA WWC in 2019.
Serturini operates from the wide areas but like to drift inwards regularly. She likes to cut in before firing a curling effort at goal and she is pretty good at it too! This tendency of hers to come inside stems from her roots as a central midfielders and she can cause problems from in between the lines by slight body feints and fake shots.
She’s a good ball carrier and helps her team move forwards with the ball at her feet. Her crossing is pretty good too as she can put the ball in from either feet.
She was instrumental for AS Roma in their Coppa Italia success last season. With 9 goals and 2 assists in the previous campaign, she is on 4 goals for this one at the halfway point.
Sjoeke Nüsken (20, Eintracht Frankfurt, CDM)
Nusken is another talent from the plethora of talents that Germany has in their ranks. A box-to-box midfielder who is great on the ball, can’t go wrong with that combo.
Nusken is excellent at closing down players and winning the ball back for her side. Her anticipation and game awareness are absolutely brilliant and that allows her to identify and pounce of loose balls and bad touches. She is an excellent tackler, stopping the opponents in their paths.
The range on her passes is absolutely fantastic, she can quickly circulate possession or kick start attacks with her passes. She provides good coverage and screening presence in front of the backline.
Still just 20, Nusken has a very bright future ahead.
Selina Cerci (21, Turbine Potsdam, Forward)
Cerci has been absolutely phenomenal this season; 2nd top scorer (8 goals) in the league only a goal behind Lea Schuller from Bayern and having already matched her goal tally from last season.
Cerci is the brand of direct footballers that can hurt a defence in multiple ways. She has brilliant movements in the attacking third to create separation from the defenders using her pace. She is amazing in the air and is good at holding her own in physical duels. She isn’t much of a creator herself but she is really good at picking up balls on the turn and getting a shot off. Her pace makes her a menace to deal with as well.
Fun fact, Cerci led the attack for Bavarians after scoring 14 goals in 22 games for Bayern Munich II in Regional Liga (South) in 2017. Cerci balled at a struggling Bremen and has continued to do so at Turbine Potsdam.
A simple rule of thumb to follow is: When Cerci plays, you watch.
Claire Lavogez (27, Bordeaux, AM)
Lavogez’ talent made a lot of noise from the early days. In the 2014 U20 FIFA WWC, Lavogez won the bronze ball for her 4 goals and her performances. The hype was justified, she was scoring worldies, taking on players and creating chances for fun.
Injuries weren’t kind to her and after earning herself a move to Lyon in 2015 things didn’t exactly go to plan. After joining Bordeaux in 2018, Lavogez has managed to put the injury woes behind and deliver.
She has an excellent shot on her and can test the keeper from anywhere. Her vision to play line breaking passes is magnificent. She is very skilled dribbler. She can wiggle though an ally of players while retaining possession with ease. The range of her passes means she can orchestrate from deep as well.
She also has set-pieces in her repertoire; capable of delivering the perfect ball from corners and freekicks or going direct. She has 2 goals and 2 assists so far this season.
Lavogez is a world beater on her day, unplayable.
Katja Snoeijs (25, Bordeaux, CF)
Snoeijs arrived in Bordeaux having an absurd goalscoring record in the Netherlands. In her first season she managed 9 goals and 6 assists but these numbers dwarfed in front of Bunny Shaw’s figures of 22 goals and 7 assists; now in her own spotlight, Katja is shining bright as she leads the team in both goals (4) and assists (5).
Snoeijs’ can work as the focal point or in tandem with another striker up front. Her dynamism in those situations make her a great fit. Her link up play and movements help create space for others to attack. She adds an element of fluidity in attack that makes it hard to defend against.
She is a blessed with good close control that comes in very handy while dribbling. Her ability to drive at defences, take on players opens up lot of avenues for her teammates. She doesn’t shy away from running the extra yards for her team and helping them out defensively.
Geyse (23, Madrid CFF, Forward)
There is a category of players are that equal part electric and effective on the football pitch and Geyse is one of those players. Having joined Madrid CFF in 2017, it was after a spell with Benfica that Geyse found her rhythm in Europe.
After scoring 9 in 26 appearance last season, Geyse currently sits at 11 goals from 12 games (only behind a certain Alexia Putellas) and is averaging a goal every 95 minutes in the league.
With her blistering pace and quick change of direction, Geyse is a unplayable in transitions and is capable of hurting any team in transitions. She is very dribble-y and has a brilliant shot on her. Her ball carrying ability on top of that helps her side move the ball up the field quickly. She is lethal in the box with an eye for goal.
Owing to her pace, defenders find it really hard to mark and she times her run in behind really well.
Her heavy metal style of play rubs off on her without the ball as well. She is very aggressive off the ball with her pressing and often commits a lot of clumsy fouls. This season she has accumulated 6 yellows and 1 red card.
Nuria Rábano (21, Real Sociedad, LB)
In a world where good left-backs are a rare commodity, Rábano has been one of the standout performers in Primera Iberdrola in her position for the last few seasons. Joining Real Sociedad from Deportivo in 2020, Rábano has become an integral part of Natalia Arroyo’s side.
Rábano is a solid player on either ends of the pitch. Her abilities on the ball coupled with her positional discipline in defensive situations make her a fantastic option. She has good range on her passes and is also good with her crosses in the attacking third. She is great at linking up in the attacking third and providing supporting runs on the flank.
She is also excellent at taking on and beating players on the flank to create space for her to cross the ball from. She has the pace to get past opponents and works really well with space ahead of her.
At just 21, she is yet another player in a seemingly never ending pool of players and in a market where LBs are rare, Rábano will soon be a very sought after player.
Nutmegs are the most important thing in football, duh! So, staying true to my brand, lets finish this with one of my favorite nutmegs from the season so far *drumrolls*
When Mana Iwabuchi nutmegged a player trying to slide tackle her!
This is it for the first installment of the series. There are plenty more of these hidden gems in WoSo and with this series my aim is to start a discourse around these underrated gems and give them their fair share of spotlight.
Until next time!
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