Sitting in second place after 11 matches and riding a six-match winning streak, the Giallorosse are the hottest team in Serie A Femminile outside of the three-time reigning champions Juventus, who remain unbeaten this season. With an 8-1-2 (W-D-L) record and a +14 goal differential at the season's official midway point, new manager Alessandro Spugna has Roma primed for their best season yet.
With everything coming up Milhouse at the moment, you could forgive Betty Bavagnoli—the club's manager for their first three years and the current Head of Women's Football—if she sat back and enjoyed the fruits of her labor; she was the brains behind all of this after all. But with Roma in the thick of a four-team fight for Italy's second and final Champions League spot, the second half of the season promises to be an absolute blood bath.
And even a club like Roma, who are hitting on all cylinders as 2021 winds down, needs reinforcements, and that’s precisely what they've just done. Earlier today, the club announced the official signing of Emilie Haavi, a Norwegian midfielder who joins Roma after a five-year stint with LSK Kvinner.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome a player like Emilie to this club ... she is a player who is able to play in various positions at the highest level."— AS Roma Women (@ASRomaWomen) December 15, 2021
Haavi, 29-years-old, is fresh off a 13 goal, four assist campaign for Kvinner; a performance that netted her Norwegian League Player of the Year honors. A natural righty who can play on the left, Haavi uses this inversion to confuse defenders, cutting in on her stronger foot to terrorize defenses to the tune of 120 goals in 242 appearances, most of which came in the Norwegian League, though she did have a brief stint with the Boston Breakers in the NWSL in 2017. She also has 16 goals in 90 international appearances with Norway.
Haavi, who signed with Roma through June 2023, spoke about the unique blend of tradition and ambition when asked why she signed with the Giallorosse:
“Roma is a big club with a proud tradition...The club has high ambitions and I felt that I wanted to be a part of that.”
I got a very good impression of Roma from the conversations I had and I’ve got that confirmed when I got here. Things are very much in order.
It’s a league in a great development. You can see that the big men’s clubs are really gaining momentum in their women’s initiative. It’s also very cool to be a part of such a traditional club as Roma. You notice that you are in a big club
I enter this with a very open mind. First and foremost is this a lot about getting out of my comfort zone. I think this will be developing for me, regardless of the level of the league
On the club's new midfielder, Bavagnoli was quick to highlight not only Haavi's experience but her versatility:
We are delighted to be able to welcome a player like Emilie to this club
We signed her not just for her vast experience but also for her ability to unite both quality and versatility – she is a player who is able to play in various positions at the highest level.
She is joining at the right time to reinforce our squad and to help us continue to push on in a season where the competition will only get fiercer from here on
Haavi, who will wear the number 11 shirt for the Giallorosse, may not be ready for the club's Coppa Italia tilt against Pomigliano this weekend but given her ability to play a variety of attacking roles, she'll provide cover for everyone from Manuela Giugliano to Annamaria Serturini to Andressa Alves.