The lowdown on Maria Thorisdottir

The defender made the move to Albion after spells with Chelsea and Manchester United.

By Richie Mills • 13 September 2023

By James Boardman
Maria Thorisdottir joined Albion in the summer after leaving Manchester United.

Maria Thorisdottir will add a wealth of experience and versatility to Brighton's defence following her transfer from Manchester United.

That is according to Jamie Spencer, who writes for the Red Devils and has followed her progress during a two-and-a-half-year spell at the club.

And it is hard to argue as the 30-year-old has a host of Champions League experience, 66 Norway caps to her name and won five trophies during her time with Chelsea, including the Women's Super League (twice) and the FA Cup.

"First and foremost, Maria is a hugely experienced defender. She was more of a squad player at Chelsea but joined United at a crucial time in the club’s development trying to bridge the gap to the WSL’s established big three clubs (Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man City)," said Spencer.

"Although she is not the quickest, she reads the game well and is a defender who likes to pick passes. She will often look to progress the ball up the pitch with those passes and also has a good range of passing. It was often the case at United that she would try and hit the diagonal long passes into space for wide forwards. By her own admission in the past, she’s not afraid of trying risky balls if there’s a reward."

By James Boardman
The Norway international has made 66 appearances for her country.

With defenders Victoria Williams and Rebekah Stott leaving the Albion in the summer, the former Klepp star bolsters the Seagulls' ranks at the back.

Although Thorisdottir, who retired from football to play handball in Norway between 2012-14, has had a couple of injuries during her career, Spencer believes she has plenty to offer Melissa Phillips's side.

"Centre-back has always been her primary position but it wasn’t one she was often used in at Chelsea, where chances more often came at right-back," he said.

"But Maria has the versatility to play anywhere in the backline, while her passing also makes her a useful asset in defensive midfield should it be necessary."

The Norwegian international, who played 45 times for United between 2021-23, was on the fringes of the Red Devils' first team last season as a certain former Brighton player came to the fore there.

By James Boardman
The defender has previously played for Klepp in her homeland, as well as Chelsea and Manchester United.

Despite that, she played her part in helping United finish second in the WSL last season, securing Champions League qualification for the first time and reach their maiden Women's FA Cup final.

"Maria didn’t play that much at United last season. She had previously been a regular starter at centre-back in 2021/22 alongside Aoife Mannion (until her injury) and later a mixture of Diane Caldwell and Hayley Ladd in the latter stages of the campaign," said Spencer.

"In 2022/23, the arrival of Maya Le Tissier and the return of Millie Turner laid the path for a new centre-back pairing who started close to every WSL game together. Instead, Maria became a backup full-back and had a couple of important games in the autumn when Ona Batlle was sidelined with a concussion and particularly impressed at left-back in an away game against Everton in October.

"Maria’s last game for United was actually back in March when she got injured away at Lewes in the FA Cup, which subsequently also ruled her out of the World Cup and denied her a proper chance to say goodbye to the fans she had grown very close to at Leigh Sports Village.

"However, she brings all that experience and international quality to a Brighton squad that should fly back up the table."