JESS DEAKIN TELLS US WHO IS WHO IN THE WOLVES WOMEN SQUAD
As we pick up our 4th win of the FA Women’s National League season, Dan McNamara’s side see themselves sitting at the top of the table – after collecting 13 points from a possible 15. During the summer, four players departed Wolves for new ventures as well as club legend Natalie Widdal ending her 20 year long journey with the club as she headed into retirement. Midfielder Leah Burridge joined Oxford United, who compete in the Southern Division. Nyah Edwards completed a move to newly promoted side Boldmere St. Michaels and Ellie Butler moved up a tier in the women’s football pyramid to play for Championship outlet Coventry United. Promising forward Lauren Riley – who had progressed through our academy – headed stateside on a scholarship at Keiser University in Florida.
Whether this is your first season following the journey of Wolves Women or you have been a fan for numerous years, this piece will enhance your knowledge on all the players who will represent our club for the 2022/23 campaign.
1. SHAN TURNER
Shan Turner joined the club from Birmingham based club, Boldmere St. Michaels. She quickly made a name for herself, conceding just 16 goals throughout the whole of the 2021/22 league campaign. Her efforts were recognised, as she picked up the ‘Top Goalkeeper’ award for the Northern Premier Division, as well as receiving her first call up to the Northern Ireland senior team, meaning she was the only player to represent Wolves at this summer’s Women’s Euros. Shan has since received another call up for her country’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers against Luxembourg and Latvia.
13. BEC THOMAS
Since re-signing for Wolves in 2019, Bec Thomas has made 25 appearances under the management of Dan McNamara. She was Wolves’ hero between the sticks throughout the fantastic FA Cup journey the club went on during the spring of 2021, after saving the deciding penalty against Nottingham Forest – sending them through to the next round against Watford. This season, Bec has already made 3 appearances, in the absence of Shan Turner, keeping 2 clean sheets.
2. LAURA COOPER
After joining us from fellow Midlands outfit Boldmere, Laura Cooper brings quality on the pitch both defensively and going forward. Throughout her Wolves career, she has made a total of 33 appearances in both the league and the cup. ‘Coops’ can be versatile in the role she has to play, predominantly playing as a wing back. Last season, she got two goals to her name as well as bringing lots of experience to the team – having played for both Derby County and Aston Villa.
3. ANNA MORPHET
Arguably one of the best set piece and penalty takers in the league, Anna Morphet is one of the most consistent players in McNamara’s team. The 21 year old has 78 senior appearances for Wolves, having been at the club for 5 seasons. ‘Morph’ has developed massively during recent times, generating both outstanding performances at the back as well as contributing goals and assists. Her set pieces have already been a success this season for Wolves Women – as her deliveries have led to four goals in the last three games. Another one of Anna’s qualities is her superb passing range and vision as she often generates chances for attackers to run through to.
4. ANNA PRICE
Our longest-serving player in the first-team squad, Anna Price has surpassed 300 appearances for the club she has supported since she was a child. A Wolves legend who has experienced many highs and many lows throughout her career, Anna has spent over half her life playing for Wolves. Over the last few seasons, ‘Perks’ hasn’t been starting as often as she once did, however, she is regularly called upon to make a difference off the bench. She is a hard working player who can play both centre back and midfield, as well as being a threat in the box during set pieces. Anna is coming into the latter years of her career, however, one thing we can be sure of is that she is always willing to give 100% on the field and will continue to be an inspiration to many young girls.
5. EMMA CROSS
Another player who has been at Wolves since she was a child, Emma is a pacy defender who never commits to a tackle half-heartedly. She has racked up over 150 appearances and has started every game so far this season. Emma is one of the fastest players in the team who is often able to outrun her opponents before making an attempt to recover the ball. Along with her twin sister Jade, a fellow Wolves Women player, they are lifelong supporters of the club who always give nothing but their all. After being promoted to Tier 3 last season, Emma has quickly been able to adapt to the rise in quality of the forwards she is coming up against. After being at the heart of the defence throughout the duration of last season, she missed just 2 games all year. This season, we will no doubtably see Emma develop even more as a player, where she will more than likely surpass the 200 appearances mark.
6. RIA ELSMORE
After crossing the Black Country divide in September last year, Ria Elsmore gave Dan McNamara another option at the back. Having spent 2 years at West Bromwich Albion, our No.6 decided to join the club that both her and her family support. Ria made 21 appearances during her first season wearing gold and black, adding a new dimension to the backline. A strong and hard-working defender who had some fantastic performances throughout the 2021-22 season, Ria brings lots of experience and value to the squad.
15. KELLY DARBY
A strong and powerful centre-back, Kelly Darby is one of the most experienced players amongst the squad, having previously had spells at Derby County, Nottingham Forest and West Brom. After joining us in 2020, Kelly has 36 appearances and 3 goals to her name, as well as wearing the captains armband a number of times in the absence of Anna Price. An expert at last ditch tackles and 1v1 situations, Darby offers Dan McNamara a consistent and vocal option at the back. Positioned between Emma Cross and Anna Morphet, last season she found herself in one of the closest nit back lines in the league.
28. BETH MERRICK
Currently in her second spell at the club, some would say that Beth is the ultimate wolf. Having been a Wolves fan all her life, she certainly takes huge pride in playing for her club. After first joining the club at 12 years old Beth began to progress through the centre of excellence, however in 2007, she made the decision to join Aston Villa – where she stayed for 13 years. A return back to Wolves was on the cards in 2021, as she was unable to commit to playing full-time for previous team Coventry United. During her first season back as a wolf, Beth played in every league game and scored 4 goals. Throughout last season, she progressed even more under Dan McNamara and we will no doubtably see this continue as we head into the new season.
7. TAMMI GEORGE
Our 2021/22 player of the season, Tammi George has been at the heart of the midfield ever since she re-joined the club in 2020 after a spell at WSL outfit Tottenham Hotspur. Last season she had 12 goals to her name, as well as picking up the ‘Opposition’s Player Of The Match’ award on four occasions. It isn’t just goals that Tammi adds to the team either, she is a very physical player and is always extremely composed when on the ball. In addition to this, she is one of the most technically gifted players in the squad. As a result of such a successful season, championship clubs were interested in signing her, however Wolves were able to fight off all competition. She has started the 2022/23 campaign just like she left off in May, having started all five games and scoring one.
10. HELEN DERMODY
Helen Dermody or ‘H’ as she is often referred to, has played in the second tier of women’s football for a number of years having made 349 appearances for Coventry United. Helen joined us in July 2021, along with three of her teammates. Despite struggling with injuries throughout the duration of last season, she has already made 23 appearances and 6 goals for the club. An extremely talented player with a large array of knowledge, Helen will be a key player of the midfield this season, along with Tammi George and Summer Holmes. A natural leader, H is hugely respected amongst the squad and has already captained the team several times. As she heads into her second season wearing old gold and black, fans are more than likely to notice her excellence both on and off the ball as well as her ever present contributions to goals.
14. AMY DICKEN
A technical and pacey midfielder who tends to play higher up in midfield, Amy joined us for Nottingham Forest where she had already played with Bec Thomas and Summer Holmes. Throughout last season, she started the majority of games on the bench, however, still managed to make a total of 25 appearances, scoring 3 goals. This season, Amy has already made 3 appearances out of a possible 5 as well as getting her name on the score sheet once. Whether she is in the starting XI or begins the game on the bench, Amy always gives 100% and is extremely resilient when in front of goal.
16. SUMMER HOLMES
One of the strongest and technical players of our squad – Summer Holmes will be a key part of our midfield this season. After being a part of the clubs youth teams when she was a child, Summer rejoined Wolves in 2019 after spending some time at Nottingham Forest. After receiving a lengthy ban, her 2021/22 season was cut short in January. However, Summer has started this season like she had never been away from the starting XI confirming our instinct that she will be a key part of Dan McNamara’s team on the search for promotion. As well as her ability to generate attacking moves, Summer has some sublime defensive qualities – making her one of the most reliable midfielders at the club during current times.
17. KATIE JOHNSON
A future star and a lifelong Wolves fan, Katie Johnson is having the season of her life. The youngster spent last season out on loan to tier 4 team Leafield Athletic, where she wracked up 16 goals and 13 assists in just 20 games. Having been at the club since she was a child, all of her hard work and determination is proving to be successful. After returning back from her loan move during the final weeks of last season, it became apparent to fans that Katie would be a rising star and a talent to look out for. This season, her talents have proved to be worthy of a place in the starting XI. Despite playing at the back this season, ‘KJ’ is our 2nd highest goalscorer with 4 goals – all of which have been from a set piece, taken by Anna Morphet.
19. ALISHA MILLER
A strong and pacey midfielder, Ali loves pushing forward to create chances, as well as always being willing to put in tackles if she is needed too. After joining us in the summer of 2020, she has made 29 appearances for Wolves and has scored 5 goals. Despite not being named in any matchday squads so far this season, she has made 2 appearances for our reserve side and contributed 3 goals. Football isn’t the only sport that Ali excels in, having previously been an international trampolinist – in 2013, she became the country’s national champion! Our number 19 certainly has a spring in her step!
20. LOWRI WALKER
Entering her fifth season as a part of Wolves – Lowri has had a number of superb moments while representing the club. One of those being the day where she scored an overhead kick against West Bromwich Albion, in the final game of the season! An extremely gifted player when it comes to her attacking abilities, Lowri has scored 31 goals for the club, as well as netting once for the reserve team. Last season didn’t go strictly to plan however, as our Welsh Wizard suffered with injuries throughout a long duration of the season. Sadly, this continued in the first weeks of the 2022/23 season, meaning she is yet to make an appearance, however Lowri is expected to be back in action very soon!
23. LIZZIE BENNETT-STEELE
One of this season’s new-recruits, Lizzie joined us having spent two seasons at Stoke City. While our knowledge of the way she plays may be pretty minimal, we can guarantee that her experience will be a valuable part of the team. The first time that fans were able to see our new signing in action was in the clubs final pre-season friendly against Ipswich Town – where she came on as a substitute.
8. MAZ GAUNTLETT
After joining us in the summer of 2021 while still recovering from an ACL injury, Maz had to wait until December to make her debut. She soon made a name for herself amongst the Wolves fans, getting her name on the scoresheet extremely quickly. Throughout her debut season, Maz scored 8 goals in 15 appearances, as well as an all important goal in their County Cup Final victory over West Brom. She started the new campaign just how she left off, scoring a sublime strike against Nottingham Forest.
9. JADE CROSS
With over 150 goals to her name, Jade Cross is another player who has spent over half of her life playing for Wolves. She is able to play as either a centre forward or as a winger – where her pace allows her to get past her opponent and cut inside. Along with her twin sister Emma, Jade made her first team debut in 2013, having progressed through the Centre of Excellence. Contributing 41 goals in the clubs final two seasons in tier 4, our no.9 played a key part in the clubs hunt for promotion.
11. AMBER HUGHES
Pace, desire and an amazing vision in front of goal, Amber has cemented her worth in the team, after an unbelievable first season. Another player who joined us from Coventry United, who quickly demonstrated to Dan McNamara just how valuable her qualities are. Amber was last season’s top goal scorer, as she scored 26 goals in just 28 games, as well as being awarded player of the match 6 times! This season she has started with flying colours – currently averaging more than a goal per game.
21. DESTINEY TOUSSAINT
Another new signing, Destiney brings heaps of experience having played in both the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship. During her first few games at Wolves, she has seen herself positioned on the wing and has demonstrated her sublime technical skills. Pace is another skill that Destiney possesses – she is always willing to take on defenders – often outrunning her opponents. It isn’t only in attack that she is gifted, Destiney can help support the back line whenever they seem to be outnumbered. She already has two goals to her name and will no-doubtably be a key part of the team as they push towards their aims.
30. MARIANNE TAHO
Our final addition for the new season – Marianne is a young and promising forward who already has lots of experience. Having previously played for Arsenal’s Academy and championship side London Bees, Maz has played with and against some of the country’s most exciting talents. She made her league debut against Liverpool Feds on the opening day of the season. From what we could see, our new signing is a very strong and driven player who loves to generate opportunities for her striking partners.
ARTICLE BY JESS DEAKIN
My name is Jess Deakin, I’m 15 years old, and have been a season ticket holder at wolves for 7 years. For the last 4 seasons, I’ve been following Wolves Women which is where my passion for women’s football began.