What Chelsea Women’s latest addition Hannah Hampton brings to the side

Hannah Hampton of England and Chelsea reacts during an England Training Session at St Georges Park on June 27, 2023 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Hannah Hampton of England and Chelsea reacts during an England Training Session at St Georges Park on June 27, 2023 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

In what looks to be the final signing for the senior team this summer, the Chelsea Women secured former Aston Villa goalkeeper and English international Hannah Hampton.

On the same day that Arsenal made a deal official with an English international from a top-five Women’s Super League side, Emma Hayes and Chelsea did the same. Unlike their rivals to the north, the Blues brought in a goalkeeper to a unit that now features five shot stoppers under contract with the club next season. In a contract that keeps her in west London until the summer of 2026, the 22-year-old Hannah Hampton will join Hayes’ side following her spell with the England in Australia and New Zealand at the Women’s World Cup.

At first when the reports came out, it was rumored that Hampton would go out on loan. Currently, she is in talks with Melissa Phillips’ Brighton and Hove Albion on a loan move according to multiple outlets. A season-long loan would make the most sense for a promising young goalkeeper like Hampton who previously said she was open to the move. On the other side, Molly Hudson of The Times reported that the club wants the English keeper to stick around in order to help transition her into the side. There has to be a plan in place, or bringing in Hampton does not make much sense.

With an overcrowded keeper room, it is important for the west Londoners to at least send two of them elsewhere for development purposes. Hampton, Emily Orman, and Nicky Evrard are all candidates.

She has experience with a top-side in the WSL along with knowledge of the Spanish game. The youngster Hampton was someone that this club may have felt they could not have passed up on. Hampton even said during her first interview that she always wanted to end up with the west Londoners dating back to her tenure with Birmingham City. Not only does she know some of the Blues current players from competing on the international stage, Hampton played with both Ann-Katrin Berger, and Jess Carter in the midlands prior to their transfers to west London.

The athlete has just two England appearances to her name, but was named to her first World Cup as one of three goalkeepers including Manchester City’s Ellie Roebuck, and Manchester United’s Mary Earps. Even with the rumors of her being dropped by both Sarina Wiegman, and Carla Ward due to “attitude issues” in late 2022, Hampton seems to have melded ties on both occasions, working back into both teams.

The story overall is quite remarkable. Hampton was born in Birmingham with a condition called strabismus, a disorder that affects someone’s depth perception. After being told by doctors that playing any sort of competitive sport growing up was a long shot, Hampton continued to work at her dream. She moved to Spain when she was five, playing striker for Villarreal CF academy for five years before returning to the United Kingdom. The now English international made the move to goalkeeper at the Stoke City youth level. She stood out so much that Marc Skinner recruited her to Birmingham where she eventually made a name for herself.

Hannah Hampton brings a unique skillset that the Chelsea Women have lacked between the sticks.

Unlike Berger, the Blues No. 1 shot-stopper heading into next season, Hampton’s No. 1 strength is her distribution from the back. The German was criticized last season at times for her inability to play the ball cleanly out the back. Which is most likely one of the reasons why Hayes’ team was not known to be significantly possession-oriented. In just 15 starts in the WSL last season for the Villains, Hampton was one of three keepers to complete 90 or more passes longer than 40 yards down the field. Sometimes her confidence with the ball at her feet, and experience as a forward is a negative, but the accuracy at such a young age is impressive. The former Birmingham Player of the Season is in the 95th percentile in total touches among goalkeepers throughout a 90 minute match. If Hayes seeks to transition into a more possession-based team going forward, Hampton could very well be the long-term solution.

There are still a whole lot of flaws when it comes to stop-stopping to iron out, but for someone so young, that will come with time. Her height at 5’8” makes her the shortest goalkeeper on the team, leaving her susceptible to chips and long distance strikes.

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While she made the roster, Hampton will mostly not make an appearance at the World Cup for England. Her focus has to be constant improvement, especially when at international camps. Her future is still very unclear where she will end up playing when September rolls around. Given the amount of goalkeepers, it has to be considered a confusing signing to say the least, but at the end of the day, she brings something few in that room don’t. Youth, and outstanding accuracy in her distribution.