The Hive is an apt place for Watford Ladies to kick off their league season tomorrow evening as there is a real buzz around the Hornets ahead of the FA Women’s Super League Two season.
The Golden Girls announced six new signings this afternoon and go into the game against London Bees with a new management team and the backing of Watford Football Club who, like Chelsea and Manchester City, have taken the ladies’ team under its umbrella.
“I have every belief in all the girls that we can finish top half of the table,” said new first-team coach Katie Rowson, who swapped a senior role with the British Virgin Islands Football Association to take up the post at Vicarage Road. “I’m not going to put pressure on the girls but we can finish top half and I think we will. Last season was tough but it’s gone now. I can say hand on heart that this season will be completely different. The vibe on and off the pitch is insanely good.”
Rowson replaces John Salomon who stepped down after four years in charge to take up a role with the FA. He left a side who finished rock bottom of the league, with five points from 18 games. Several players left for Millwall in the off-season but they have been replaced by a raft of new faces who have brought a sense of enthusiasm and optimism.
“I’m way beyond excited to get the season started on Wednesday,” said new signing Lucy Gillett, the goalkeeper born to English parents, raised in New York and having played her most recent football in Iceland. “We’ll put everything into the season and go out there and give it our all every game.”
At the opposite end of the field, Natalie Richardson has arrived from Queens Park Rangers and should bring goals from midfield.
“We’ve been building up to it for a few weeks and Wednesday has come around so quickly,” she said. “All the girls are absolutely buzzing and we can’t wait to get started.”
Another midfielder who has swapped a London club for one in leafy Hertfordshire is Georgia Miller, the former West Ham United player.
“I am really looking forward to the start of the season,” she said. “Teams will underestimate us due to the final league position last year. However, we will be a threat and a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully on Wednesday we will pick up three points against the Bees.”
Watford have won four of the previous six meetings with London Bees, rounding off last season with a goalless draw at Berkhamsted FC. Tomorrow’s game will be a good early barometer to see how far they have come in just under eight weeks under their new management team.
“All the girls here are great, and you can tell the willingness from them,” said Sophie Cheadle, a goalkeeper signed from QPR. “I always strive to be successful at a new club, the aim is to work together as a team, work hard at training and start the season well on Wednesday.”
Winger Katie Stanley, 26, could be one to watch down the flank.
“The training has been great and is always very attacking which I really like,” said the signing from Oxford. “The girls have been really welcoming, along with Kate. I can’t wait for the season to start now and I’m confident that it will be a good one.”
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