With just a week to go until the new season starts in the FA Women's National League, Southampton Women's FC are feeling buoyant. With three senior teams and new teams at U11 and U12 the club is growing slowly to bring in and develop young female talent in the area and offer them a pathway to a high level of senior football. Last season the U16 beat both Bournemouth and Portsmouth Academies to win the League and League Cups, and most of those players have moved into the senior sides for the upcoming season.
Last season the First team finished runners up in the FA Women's Premier League (SW), losing only one league game all season and finished with a goal difference of +77. Simon Parker, Manager, was pleased with their performance and shares his thoughts on the important issues facing the club in the closed season,
"We have worked hard on retaining players. After the success of last season many clubs were interested. It is always an uncertain time because any club can talk to any player and I am incredibly happy that we have managed to keep almost all of the squad from last season while also adding quality to all our squads."
To help with promotion, over the summer the squad has been strengthened with the addition of 7 new players.
Issy Foster, ex-England U19 goalkeeper joins from Wolves and has already made an impression in pre-season games with her athleticism and commanding performance with her defence. Roxy Lee-Stewart, a strong and quick footed player has switched from Southampton Saints G&L, joined in midfield by the agile Kayleigh Tonks who joins from Portsmouth FC Ladies.
In the pre-season game against Oxford United WFC, which finished 1-1, another new signing Hannah Samuels demonstrated her skills, slipping past player after player and setting up several goalscoring opportunities. Hannah joins us from London Bees and more recently Crystal Palace. Laura Da Silva, a Portugal U17 player has come to the club from the Island of Madeira, joining Louise Delaney (ex-Fulham and Point Park University) to strengthen the squad further. Rosie Kirby also joins, bringing a strong defensive background from her time in the South West Regional Academy.
The club also performed well in pre-season against Lewes FC Women, who will be playing the Championship this season, conceding a late goal to lose 1-0 in an otherwise fairly even game. Looking forwards to their opening league match game on 19th August, Simon Parker "
"The most important message is to take into next season is working on one game at a time. It's easy for complacency to set in, last season we had a great season and finished second, in many of the games we won comfortably. Players and coaches could believe it will be a given that promotion will happen because of this, but it's not the case though, every team in our league has improved and strengthened their squads too. There will be no easy games and I believe any number of teams can win the league. If we wish to gain promotion it will be tougher than last year."