Jen Beattie leaves Arsenal as a club legend, but a new exciting project awaits her in America.
Late last week, it was confirmed Jen was leaving Arsenal, where she has spent two different spells spanning eight years, to join new NWSL club Bay FC, who are based in California.
There is no doubt Jen is Arsenal through and through. Although she has had spells elsewhere, she has become synonymous with the club’s women’s team.
Over the last 18 months, her role at the club has changed as she took on a leadership responsibility, and she wasn’t getting as many minutes as she would’ve liked.
But when called upon last season, she stepped up in some of Arsenal’s biggest moments, like scoring against Wolfsburg in the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League.
She proved she is still a top player, and no matter what clubs mean to you, you want to be playing games – and I think a move to Bay FC offers her that.
It feels like too good an opportunity to turn down. Bay FC are an exciting project and the upcoming season, starting in March, will be their first-ever in the NWSL.
The NWSL is an exciting league and very different to what Jen is used to with the FA WSL and European football.
Away from the pitch, it’s a move to a new country, which is something Jen has done before having played in France and Australia, but it’s great to keep experiencing different things.
The last few weeks will have been really exciting for Jen getting to go to California to sign for the club and to scout out her new surroundings.
I know she has gone out and spent a bit of time there and has been able to get a really good feel of what to expect.
— Jen Beattie MBE (@jbeattie91) February 3, 2024
Jen had been at Arsenal, who are so highly regarded in the women’s game, for so long and experienced so much success that I am sure her new club will be looking to tap into her expertise.
Bay FC have made some big-name signings, like Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala, but have built a squad that has a lot of young players – so, having Jen’s experience and somebody like her, who is so level headed, on board is a great acquisition.
Aston Villa reach semi-finals after penalty shootout against Brighton
It was great to reach the Continental League Cup semi-finals with Aston Villa this week, after beating Brighton on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
To finish the game on penalties is brutal. We prevailed having scored two of our spot-kicks, with Brighton missing all of theirs thanks to the heroics of our goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar.
It was a frustrating game and both teams probably lacked a bit of rhythm going into the shootout, which maybe partly explains the quality of penalties on show.
But Daphne made three good saves which was great – and I know she felt good about that having been disappointed with the manner of Brighton’s opener.
Reaching the semi-finals has brought a nice feeling into the group and we have to try lean on that positive energy.
We haven’t had enough good moments this season, so it is important we try and use this cup run as a way to build momentum.
Aberdeen get first SWPL win in six games
It has been a season of transition for Aberdeen Women this season, but it was good to see them get back to winning ways, after no wins in their last five SWPL matches, with a 2-1 victory over Montrose during the week.
The Dons are back in league action on Sunday when travel to Edinburgh to face Hearts.
Aberdeen currently sit six points clear in seventh and will play in the bottom half of the split when that comes around next month.
I think it is a positive place for them to be. Sitting seventh reflects a good enough season for where the Dons are currently at.
It would be too soon for them to finish in the top six where they would be underdogs in almost every match.
Playing in the bottom half, where they can aim to be best of the rest, allows them to play in more competitive fixtures and to keep building foundations to improve on – because progressing season upon season is what needs to be the aim.