SHEFFIELD FC WOMEN DEVELOPMENT
The new season marks a return of development team football to Sheffield FC Women, a re-introduction of a team that has played such a pivotal role in the past successes of the Club, throughout its time in the old FA Women’s Premier League and the Women’s Super League, with a number of former and current fan favourites having trodden the path from development team football into the first team.
The side, nearly all of who are U20, has undergone a challenging and testing pre-season to gear them up for the FA Women’s National League season, in which they will face the reserve teams of the likes of Leeds United, Hull City and Barnsley.
Alongside recruitment of the playing squad, there has also been the building of a new management team, which will be headed up by former first team assistant manager, Chris Hames. Chris will be joined in the role by Adam Rawlings and Emma Preston.
Both Rawlings and Preston are recent graduates from Sheffield Hallam University. Rawlings is fresh from a trip to China with Huddersfield Town Foundation whilst Preston is a Foundation coach at Sheffield United.
Ahead of the new campaign which commences with a trip to Liverpool Feds Development this afternoon, Hames gave his thoughts:
“It’s been a really good challenge trying to recruit and re-establish our development team back into the Club, and I feel we’ve done well to get such a committed, driven and talented group in in year one.”
“Pre-season has been good – we’ve purposefully made challenges harder than a usual pre-season schedule, so that we can accelerate our learning and really push our standards to the maximum. Whilst results may not have been reflective of the season we hope to have, some of the outcomes have been excellent.”
“I found out first-hand last season what a club loses in not having a development team, both on and off the pitch. To have that buzz, excitement and energy around each week will benefit the whole Club, both in the short and longer term.”
“I’m hoping for a good season, both in terms of results as we educate a group of players on how to play, but also how to win and secure valuable points, and of course in terms of their individual development.”
“Already we’ve had three first team debuts from the development squad, as well as a further three on the bench. Those pathways are crucial. It allows us as coaches to keep the bar very high, and provide something for the girls to aspire to.”
The development team’s opening game of the season kicks off at 2pm this afternoon away at Liverpool Feds Development. The team are competing in FA WNL Reserves Northern Division 2 and we wish them all well for the season.