Carli Lloyd, Shanice van de Sanden: 5 stars you forgot played in the WSL

Women's Super League

The Women's Super League is one of the biggest football competitions in the world. The popularity and prestigiousness of the league have enticed many world-class players to England over the years.

Recent blockbuster signings like Pernille Harder and Sam Kerr, as well as loan recruits such as Alex Morgan, have made moves from overseas to play in the WSL. The league is arguably the most competitive on the planet right now and perhaps the most popular.

GiveMeSport Women looks back at the last decade of WSL history and picks out the stars you may have forgotten once played in England's top flight...

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd

The USA international is one of her country's finest athletes. Carli Lloyd's medal count is one to behold – having won two Olympic golds, and two World Cups, just to name a few.

Since breaking into her senior career back in 1999, Lloyd has plied her trade in the NWSL for more than two decades, but many forget a brief stint she had across the pond.

The versatile forward joined Manchester City on loan for the 2017 WSL Spring Series. She made just six appearances for the Citizens, but scored twice, including her goal in the FA Cup final which helped the team scoop the title.

However, her loan stay was soured after she picked up a three-match ban following a red card incident, which ran for the remainder of her stay in England.

Shanice van de Sanden

Shanice van de Sanden

Dutch icon Shanice van de Sanden spent a year of her impressive career on Merseyside. After eight years in her native country, she was snapped up by Liverpool, who had recently won back-to-back WSL titles.

Van de Sanden joined the Reds in 2016 and made a total of 28 appearances across all competitions under then manager Scott Rogers. She found the back of the net three times, playing alongside the likes of Caroline Weir, Sophie Ingle and loanee Beth England.

Crystal Dunn

Crystal Dunn

This move is one of the more iconic ones on the list, particularly as it involves a chicken.

Crystal Dunn spent a year in West London back in 2017, after she joined Chelsea from Washington Spirit. Her impressive goal return in the NWSL made her a top priority of Emma Hayes', who brought her in to make an immediate impact for the club.

Dunn scored on her debut for the Blues, just 12 minutes into the match. She would then go on to help Chelsea win the WSL Spring Series and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League – the first time they'd ever gone that far in the competition.

The forward left the club to return to the States in 2018, but named one of her adopted chickens after the London club, as it held a special place in her heart.

Desiree Scott

Desiree Scott

NWSL and Canadian icon Desiree Scott is a huge name across the Atlantic. Not only has she played for the likes of Kansas City and Utah Royals at domestic level, but she has earned 160 senior caps for her country.

Scott wasn't always exclusive to North America though. In 2014, the midfielder was signed by Notts County, who were then competing in England's highest level of football.

Despite missing the first half the season due to World Cup preparations, the Canadian went on to make 20 league appearances for County and featured in their FA Cup Final clash against Chelsea at Wembley.

Heather O'Reilly

Heather O'Reilly

Heather O'Reilly is another on the USA's long list of footballing greats. She retired in 2019 after a decorated career – boasting three NWSL titles, a World Cup and three Olympic gold medals.

Like her international teammates on this list, O'Reilly also wandered across the pond for a brief chapter in her life. The former forward was signed by Arsenal in 2017 and she went on to make 24 appearances and scored three goals, also helping them win the League Cup that season.

Since these arrivals, the WSL has welcomed a plethora of international talent and with the growth of the game continuing, we can only hope to expect more exciting transfers in the near future.

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