Women kick off the premier league: does the PSV finally manage to win the national title?

The men have another week to go, but the women are ready for it: the premier league starts on Sunday. With eight football teams and three big contenders for the national title: PSV, Ajax and FC Twente.

The game between PSV and VV Alkmaar has been cancelled, as coronavirus has been detected among players and staff of the Eindhoven team. Moreover, the games will be on Friday-evening for the rest of the season.

There is one game on Sunday and that game can be seen in summary in the Studio Sport broadcast from 18.10 hours. In some cases even live in the 13.10 hour broadcast.

What can we expect from the different teams next season? An overview of the participating clubs in order of last season’s ranking.

PSV: favourite for title

PSV is impatient. Twice the Eindhoven women just missed the national title. In 2019, PSV lost the lead at the last minute and last year the club was at the top when the season had to be ended prematurely due to the corona crisis.

But PSV doesn’t want to wait much longer: this year that title has to come. Orange-keeper Sari van Veenendaal and 90-time international Mandy van den Berg were brought in as reinforcements, as were talent Esmee Brugts and Australian international Kyah Simon.

In short: there is serious investment in the team.

Still, it remains to be seen whether it will succeed this time. PSV is top favourite on paper, but the team lost almost its entire axis. Central midfielder Sara Yuceil returned to Belgium and goalie Eli Sarasola put an end to her football career.

The biggest loss is the departure of Katja Snoeijs. Striker left for FC Girondins de Bordeaux. PSV is not only going to miss her goals (thirteen last season), but especially the work she did for her companions in the attack.

Winning point is that central defender Aniek Nouwen will stay another year. For PSV, the Dutch national in defense could mean the difference between championship or no championship.

Ajax: building on

Competitor Ajax stayed a little quieter this summer. Although. International Stefanie van der Gragt came back from FC Barcelona, while closer to home talents Quinty Sabajo (sc Heerenveen), Nikita Tromp (PEC Zwolle) and Chasity Grant (ADO Den Haag) were found.

Ajax has a clear vision. Coach Danny Schenkel builds on last year’s team. The quality is there, the circumstances are also excellent, now the result is still there.

Contrary to last year, some pieces of the puzzle still have to fall into place. When players such as Victoria Pelova and Kelly Zeeman reach their top level again, Ajax will be very hard to beat. However, this has to be done without leader Desiree van Lunteren: she is going on maternity leave.

FC Twente: very young defense

Like a devil out of a box, FC Twente always manages to emerge in the second half of the season. The club likes to position itself as an underdog compared to Ajax and PSV, but don’t underestimate the club. Twente won the first edition of the Eredivisie Cup in February and officially still holds the title in the premier league, as no championship scale was awarded last season.

It is a young team with less budget than the competition, but with a lot of talent and a great team spirit. Experienced players like Sisca Folkertsma and Renate Jansen will have to take the lead.

Especially the defence is very young, but beware: in a few years‘ time goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar and defenders Lynn Wilms and Ella Peddemors will be able to meet each other again in the Dutch national team just like that.

In the front, the Enschede team will have to do without Ashleigh Weerden from now on: the 21-year old attacker moved to Montpellier in France.

sc Heerenveen and ADO Den Haag: talent departed

It’s nice to be a training team and grow a lot of talent, but inevitably a disadvantage is that the best then leave for bigger clubs. sc Heerenveen sees it happen every year. In the past for example with some of today’s stars: Vivianne Miedema, Sherida Spitse and Lieke Martens.

Heerenveen also had to give up players to Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Enschede this summer. But Kirsten van de Westeringh (Ajax) and Eef Kerkhof (Jong PSV) followed the opposite path. The question is whether that is enough to absorb the surrendered quality.

ADO Den Haag is also familiar with the problem: strongholders Marisa Olislagers (FC Twente) and Chasity Grant (Ajax) are gone. Furthermore, ADO managed to keep the selection pretty much together. Pay special attention to the 18-year-old talent Ilham Abali.

For both Heerenveen and ADO, the gap with the top three should not become too big. There is no training fee yet in Dutch women’s football: it would make a big difference for these clubs.

VV Alkmaar, PEC Zwolle, Excelsior Rotterdam

The only club that does not belong to a BVO (professional football organisation) comes from Alkmaar and has a very good structure. There are youth selections, there is a long-term vision. VV Alkmaar wants to breed the Orange players of the future. Like Katja Snoeijs, who went from Alkmaar to PSV two years ago.

The difference in budget and circumstances with clubs like Ajax or PSV is undeniable, but Alkmaar wants to resist, finish in the top five and make young talent big. To name two of them: Sanne Koopman and Elfi Maass, both 17 years old, are coming.

PEC Zwolle plays the most fun football in the premier league by fits and starts. Plenty of movement, lots of ball possession, short passes. The last year the result was only lagging behind: PEC finished seventh in a league of eight teams.

And then top scorer Nikita Tromp also left for Ajax. But what PEC has seen sharp: there are pretty good soccer players on the bench at larger clubs.

Cheyenne van den Goorbergh and Naomi Hilhorst came over from FC Twente and have to score points at Zwolle.

This season Excelsior Barendrecht is called Excelsior Rotterdam. Although Feyenoord and Sparta are forging plans, Excelsior is still Rotterdam’s pride in the premier league. The club did finish last season.

Excelsior suffered a major setback last month: creative force Jolina Amani, only 21 years old, suddenly made the switch to Benfica. It is hopeful for the Rotterdam fans that the club will finally move up the rankings, but that’s not going to be easy.

Play-offs

Good to know: after eighteen rounds the top four and the bottom four teams compete in the play-offs.