With only six matches remaining in the 2019-2020 Serie A Femminile calendar, we have almost two full seasons (plus one World Cup) of experience covering AS Roma's first venture into women's football. Over that time, our appreciation for the league, it's players and personalities has grown exponentially, while our ability to contextualize Roma's achievements in relation to their Serie A and European colleagues has grown in kind.
It was a natural byproduct of following the league (and learning who to follow in the media) but there was one area in which we remained in the dark—the transfer market. While the FIGC has recently charted a path for the professionalization of women's football, the league still remains shackled by it's semi-pro strictures.
With an effective salary cap of €30,000 per player and roughly €800,000 per team, the financial playing field is effectively equal, though teams can bend and squeeze that parity through varying bonuses and multi-year contracts, though the latter is pretty uncommon at this point.
Not being able to outspend opponents on whim, clubs really have to sell the quality of their facilities and “project” in order to recruit players. With limited funds and roster spaces, these arcane financial rules may actually provide an added benefit to the clubs; they really have to zero in on a player and evaluate how/when/where they'll fit into their project. There is no room for awkward fits or spontaneous purchases, so you really have to do your research.
With the men's team awash in ill-fitting players, the women's club has consistently found perfect tactical fits for Betty Bavagnoli, and it started practically from day one when the club signed the American-born and Boston College educated Allyson Swaby.
Signed in November of 2018, Swaby was one of the club's first in-season purchases. After a brief settling in period, Swaby became a mainstay in Bavagnoli's lineup last season, making nine league appearances (including seven starts) down the stretch, setting the stage for her run at World Cup 2019 with Jamaica.
With a successful half season in Italy under her belt, not to mention Emma Lipman leaving the club over the summer, the stage was set for Swaby to take the next step in her professional development. Blessed with size, strength and technique, Swaby checked in at number five in our inaugural U-23 countdown and seemed set for a much larger role in 2019-2020.
Appearing in all but three of the club's league fixtures thus far, it's safe to say that Swaby has taken full advantage of the opportunity presented to her this summer, and it hasn't gone unnoticed by the club either.
Earlier today, the club announced that Swaby, 23-years-old, has signed a new two-year contract extension with the Giallorosse, one that will keep her in the capital through 2022. On her new deal, Swaby spoke about her life in Rome and the bond with her teammates:
I’m pleased to continue my adventure with Roma. I think it has been a great thing for my development, as a player and a person. I feel at home in Rome, I enjoy life here, I’ve settled in well.
I’ve also built a great bond with my teammates over the last 18 months. We all have the same targets and that is so important for the future.
We've spoken about it at length, but Roma's assemblage of young talent is astounding and with her stellar play at the back, Swaby should be a pillar of the club going forward, teaming with the likes of Tecla Pettenuzzo, Agnese Bonfantini and Manuela Giguliano, among many others, to propel Roma to greater heights.
The best is yet to come for Swaby and Roma. Here's to two more years and hopefully many more!