As the sun starts to set on the most remarkable Summer, we are back for another long 10 months of twists and turns as the Women’s domestic season returns this weekend.
It is a highly anticipated campaign too as it begins under the basking glow that it is still being felt after that historic win for the Lionesses at Wembley that will change the landscape of the women’s game in this country forever.
The crowds at that tournament plus the fact England won will increase exposure for what is a great game as more people come to watch and more girls dream of becoming Beth Mead.
What a season we have in store nationally and down at Bloomfields as Needham Market Women kick off their first ever season in Tier 5 away from home at Haringey Borough.
Confidence is High after a barnstorming promotion last season and with such a tight knit dressing room the sky could be the limit for this team on the up.
They didn’t need too much in terms of additions but in Eva Hubbard and Lindsey Cooper the team has been elevated as they bring lots of quality and experience.
Eva said: “I knew a lot of the girls previously from a variety of different clubs, but I have settled in well.
“A lot of my friends are here so I am excited to get the season started and hopefully win lots of games with my mates”.
Being a newly promoted side will not faze them as they have already shown their credentials by beating Luton in last season’s league cup away from home and running national league Billericay close in the FA Cup.
Eva continued: “I am hoping that my experience in the higher leagues will help the team push for promotion this season and help the younger players transition from girls to women's football.
“My main aspiration is to get promoted into tier 4 next season and it would be nice to look back once its finished knowing we have given 100% in all games and played some nice football too, giving us good momentum and potential for the possible step up in the 23/24 season”.
Could back-to-back promotions be on the cards?
With this squad why not?
Centre half Ele Catchpole has been an ever present for the club over the last few seasons and she can’t wait to show the division that Needham belong at this level and not just here to just survive.
Ele said: “It’s a really exciting time for us, our league campaign ended quite early last year so it feels like we’ve been waiting to get started for ages. The mood in the dressing room is great- I’ve never been part of a team like it”
“We had the chance to play a couple of teams from the prem last year and we showed that we can compete at this level- it’s up to us now to prove that we can do it consistently throughout the season”.
Although the team stormed to the league title last season the defender knows that they can’t just stand still.
She continued: “Last season was great for us in so many ways,but we also know that we didn’t keep enough clean sheets and that was a bit disappointing.
“As a defender, one of my biggest aims this season is to keep more of them as we know that games are going to be a lot closer this year and that makes it even more important that we don’t concede”.
Manager Warren Lewis-Claxton is pleased with the pre-season schedule and is excited although he is remaining grounded about the step up his team faces.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the new season for sure, it’s going to come with new challenges, but ones we are excited for. I’m happy with where we are at, and confident we are in a good place to get going in the league”.
He is targeting another successful season including a run in the FA Cup which could bring the club a massive windfall with the increased prize money for this season’s tournament.
Warren concluded: “The start of the season has come around quickly, and I think we are prepared and raring to go. It would be great to finish as high up the table as possible, along with good runs in both the County & FA cups.
“As always, we’ll take each game as it comes, and that starts with Haringey Borough on Sunday!”.
We hope to see as many new and regular faces cheering on the team as they continue this exciting Journey starting this Sunday – Let the rollercoaster begin!!!!