Our women's First team and Under-21's returned to training under social distancing rules 3 weeks ago. Although they haven't trained or played since March, First Team manager, Duncan Muller and U21's manager, Courtney Bartlett have both been working hard behind the scenes to bring new faces to the club.
The U21's have promoted 3 players through the youth system, with Sophie Howarth, Mia Keefe and Poppy Bowyer-Mitchell all securing contracts in their first steps to senior football. The 3 players were very strong in last years U16's side, Mia has been with the club since the age of 12 so it shows how good the youth girls' system is now. With Sophie and Poppy coming through this season we have now brough through 9 players over the last 2 seasons. The aim of the club is to ensure we have strong talent coming through, Duncan is also Head of Women & Girls Football and said “ the main aim since I came here was to create a pathway to First team football, obviously we know that not every player will make it but we are identifying talent at a young age and doing the right things to ensure they develop and feel that they are at the right club to progress.”
There have also been a few other new faces for the U21's with the signings of Georgina Wickham from Bromley Town and Chloe Hackett, Poppy Phillips & Megan Button all from AFC Wimbledon. Megan played here when she was 12 and left to play at AFCW because there wasn't the pathway for her. Courtney stated, “Its great to see Megan come home, we don't want to lose players to other teams and now the youth system is working this way we can avoid losing young talented players like Megan again.” We are also welcoming Ellie Denton to the U21's, Ellie has been working with Pat Carr on socials at the club over the last year so she is well known. Katie Smale & Olivia Watson will add strength and experience to the team. We have also brought in two young talented keepers with Rosie Weight stepping into senior football for the 1sttime and the important signing of talented young keeper Charley Boult, who will be pushing for the First team from the off and she is definitely a star of the future.
With the majority of the First team staying at the club Duncan has only added 2 new faces to the First team so far, with the acquisition of Amber Hendra from Hampton & Richmond and Sophie Barnes from Tottenham Hotspur. Both players are still young and are very exciting, Duncan was quoted; “Amber is a strong central player who can play Centre-Back and Centre-Mid, I was surprised at how quick she was in training and have been really impressed with her. Sophie is a very talented forward, she is strong in the air, can finish of both feet and is a really important addition for us”
The First team are still without Paige Hersey, who was the 1st choice keeper, and Faye Butler, who is Sutton United Women's all time top-goalscorer. Both players are expecting and will be back after the birth of their children. We wish them all the best and hope to see them back soon.
The women's team are due back in action in September and hopefully all being well the games get the go ahead and we can see more fantastic support for the teams on matchday. On behalf of everyone Duncan wanted to than the U's fans for all their support last season, and to also thank the board with a special mention for Director Pat Carr & Chairman Dave Farebrother for giving amazing support to the teams.