Chelsea Women goalkeeper Emily Orman heads out on Reading loan, what to expect

Chelsea Women (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Chelsea Women (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /

The goalkeeping room just got a bit smaller for Chelsea Women with academy product Emily Orman heading east to Reading for the 2023-2024 campaign after serving as the senior team’s No. 3 option during 2022-2023.

The news of goalkeepers moving elsewhere was bound to happen given the number of players that were at Chelsea Women after Hannah Hampton’s arrival was confirmed. This is without a doubt not the only move the Blues are going to make with their stop stoppers. Four remain on the senior team. One more realistically must head out for the next campaign.

Orman was the most obvious choice to go out on loan given her young age and need for minutes in senior football. She spent the entirely of last season watching for the sideline, simply observing the brilliance of Ann-Katrin Berger. The six-foot goalkeeper becomes the fifth Chelsea player to begin the next campaign out on loan. After exercising an option to extend her contract by another year back in May, Orman signed an extension which runs until the summer of 2025 with an option for an additional year.

She will join a goalkeeping unit that includes Rose Kite and Northern Ireland international Jacqueline Burns. On the same day that Orman signed her loan deal, former Oxford United Women keeper Kite moved to the Championship side. The 26-year-old Burns was the only one of the three that contributed to the club last season. The former Göteborg goalkeeper sat behind Grace Moloney throughout 2022-2023, starting in 10 Women’s Super League contests including one against Emma Hayes’ side at Kingsmeadow in December.

It will not be Orman’s first rodeo in the Barclays Women’s Championship. After she put pen to paper on her first pro contract in 2021, Orman went out on loan to Crystal Palace where she stood between the sticks in 20 league fixtures. The Chelsea youngster aided in the Eagles’ fourth place finish in the Championship, tying Bristol City on points just ahead of them. Given the support she provided the team as it finished in the top four, Orman was voted as the Fans’ Player of the Year at Palace.

A lot at the newest Championship club is in question. It all began with its leader moving across the pond to the United States. The Royals are currently seeking a new manager after club legend Kelly Chambers announced her departure from the county of Berkshire on June 20. Chambers also served as the director of football since 2015, so the club will need to fill two roles ahead of the beginning of the campaign on August 27 against Crystal Palace. Chambers went on to join one of the new National Women’s Soccer League clubs, the Utah Royals where she will serve as the first sporting director.

Though, it will be quite a strange first few months without her, the Royals have won this league before. Orman is not heading out to a club like Lewes who is most likely going to finish mid-table. The 20-year-old is going straight into a team that has to be considered one of the top-two promotion contenders along with Birmingham City.

There are rumors that the new manager could be Carly Davies, the recent West Bromwich Albion assistant manager. “The Tilehurst End” an SB nation site covering Reading Football Club spotted a mistake on the announcement of Orman and Kite. Davis’ name was in bolded letters at the top. The club responded saying it was false and a typo. Only time will tell if the Royals preemptively  released the name of their new head coach, but until then, we can speculate.

Chelsea’s Emily Orman should begin the campaign as the team’s tentative No. 2 behind Jacqueline Burns

Paul Green and Hayes would not have sent Orman to the most recent relegated WSL side if they knew she was not going to get any time. Due to the fact that she already has seen significant time between the sticks in goal at this level, whoever is the next manager should have a sense of trust in her. Orman’s length and height are difference-makers as she realistically can cover more ground than any of her fellow keepers with the Royals. With Conti Cup games, potential FA Cup ties, and the league, the 20-year-old goalkeeper should contribute well over 1,200 minutes on loan.

Having a new manager will most likely favor Orman because he/she/they will head into the dressing room with the clean slate. Like all campaigns as a goalkeeper, it will not be smooth sailing. The hope is Orman continues to develop in both her distribution and shot stopping abilities that she could serve as a potential No. 2 behind Hampton in the foreseeable future.

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Emily Orman and Reading Women begin pre-season play on Sunday, August 6 against Portsmouth Women at Westleigh Park with a 2 p.m. BST kick-off time.