Women’s soccer weekly news: Kelley O’Hara lifts Washington Spirit to first ever NWSL title, Formiga prepares for farewell match

English league leaders Arsenal returned to winning ways thanks to star striker and history-maker Vivianne Miedema, while the Saudi Arabian Football Federation ushers in new era for women’s football as first ever dedicated league gets underway.  

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

This week in women’s football the Washington Spirit were crowned National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions for the first time, Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema marked another major milestone in the English Women’s Super League (WSL) and Brazilian football legend Formiga is poised to compete in her last ever game of international football.

Elsewhere in the world of soccer the Spirit weren’t the only team marking a ‘first.’

South African side Mamelodi Sundowns cruised to victory in the first-ever CAF Women’s Champions League final while Saudi Arabia launch their inaugural women’s football league kicking off today (November 22).

Heroic O’Hara clinches first NWSL title for Washington Spirit

For the first time in their eight years of existence the Washington Spirt are NWSL champions.

A sublime header from London 2012 Olympic champion Kelley O’Hara sealed the win for the Spirit who defeated the Chicago Red Stars 2-1 in extra time.

The game-winning score, on the 97th minute, came off a cross from Trinity Rodman, daughter of famed basketball legend Dennis Rodman. The NWSL Rookie of the Year demonstrated throughout the game why she is deserved her newest award.

After an equalising score from the Red Stars, midway through the second half Rodman flashed her brilliance rocketing a long range shot just into the woodwork on the 61st minute. As the game entered then extra time again the 19-year-old continued to threaten before eventually providing the assist that would lift her side to the championship.

Read more: Trinity Rodman making a name for herself

Formiga: Brazil’s most capped player to bid international football farewell

43-year-old Brazilian legend Formiga is set to hang up her international boots this Thursday, (November 25) when Brazil takes on India.

The midfielder, renowned for her nickname 'ant', has represented her country in an astonishing seven consecutive Women’s World Cups and seven Olympic Games.

When she took to the pitch at Tokyo 2020 she became the oldest player to compete in a women’s Olympic football tournament beating the record previously set by fellow countrywoman, Meg.

News of her retirement was met with floods of appreciation from players all over the world. You can read more on her decision to step back here.

Read More: Indian women’s football squad named for South America tour

Vivianne Miedema sets new WSL milestone

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema made goal-scoring history once again after she became the first player in the WSL to score against every team she’s faced.

The Dutch football star – who to date is the all-time record goal scorer, male or female, for the Netherlands - got her side back to winning ways following a draw with Tottenham last week, with a breezy 2-0 defeat over Manchester United.

Miedema wasn’t the only player notching up impressive numbers this week in England.

Team GB’s Fran Kirby scored her 100th goal for Chelsea and Australian Sam Kerr hit a hat-trick to guarantee the Blues a decisive 5-0 victory over Birmingham City.

United, following their defeat to the Gooners, now slide into the sixth place in the WSL table standings while defending champions Chelsea remain one point off the top spot still occupied by Arsenal.

Next up for the WSL is the international break.

Sundowns win first-ever CAF women’s Champions League final

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies carved out a slice of sporting history by becoming the first winners of the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League. They defeated Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies 2-0 to take the crown.

Victory in Cairo means that the Chloorkop club now shares joint honours with Spanish side Barcelona. The two are the only football clubs in the world to win the men’s and women’s Champions League title on their respective continents.

A goal from Chuene Morifi on the 31st minute handed the South African based outfit the lead heading into half-time. Come the second, The Ghanaians had no answers for the Sundowns despite their best efforts, and a second goal from Andisiwe Mgcoyi all but sealed their fate.

Saudi Arabia debuts inaugural women’s football league 

Monday November 22 will be forever remembered as a momentous day for women’s football in Saudi Arabia after the new Regional Football League officially launches.

16 teams, split across three regions, will compete in a round-robin, home-and-away format with the winner of each group declared the champion of their region.

Then, the top three teams in the Central (Riyadh) and Western (Jeddah) regions, in addition to the top two from the Eastern Region (Dammam), will progress through to the national championships.

The eight qualified teams will play in a knockout competition at the Kingdom Final Championship with the overall winners set to receive $133,000 in prize money.

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