Weston-super-Mare Ladies enjoy successful first year
PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 May 2017
Just over a year ago, Weston Football Club did not have a women's team - something which is becoming less common in the world of football.
Just over a year ago, Weston Football Club did not have a women’s team – something which is becoming less common in the world of football.
The South West may have had an abundance of opportunities for female footballers but there was not a club in Weston – one of the players and club secretary Stacie Morrissey wanted to change that.
Since then, not only has the club been created under the AFC Weston name, it has also secured silverware in its very first season, with the ladies winning the Somerset County League Division Two title with ease.
The women were part of Weston Football Club’s end of season awards and are now looking to create an academy, much like the men’s side.
Reporter Sheridan Robins has followed the story of the football club from the beginning and caught up with Stacie and head coach Josh Donoghue to find out where the lady Seagulls go from here.
Josh is no stranger to the women’s game and before his role at Weston, he was managing Mendip Ladies.
However, this did not quite work out and he told the Mercury he was looking to move on at just the right time.
But it has not been easy creating a team from scratch and Josh said it took a while for the interest in playing for the Seagulls to reach a sustainable level.
He said: “At one session we only had four people come, but then it increased to around 20. We now have a squad of 18 and it has been great because it has been people who had never played before, or have been out of the game for a long time.
“We wanted people to come and give it a go – and still do – so I would say that everyone should give themselves a chance.
“It really is amazing, being where we were before to where we are now. We have a squad which is a family and have worked so well together to win the league.”
Josh said he knew the players were capable of gaining promotion, he told the Mercury he did not quite anticipate the way in which they stormed to the top of the table.
Some of the stand-out results included a remarkable 28-0 win over Hamilton and a 14-0 win over Cheddar Ladies.
The ladies scored 114 goals during the season, but winning by such large margins is not as easy as it seems, Josh added.
He said: “With the girls winning 20-0 every week, they could have got bored of it, but they stuck together and continually turned in good performances and I am very proud of them.”
Stacie has also expressed her pride at the club, having seen it in its infancy.
She said: “The season has been phenomenal – better then we could have hoped for with an amazing team which I can only describe as my second family.
“Every person on the team, players, management and supporters deserve a lot of praise. We exceeded the dream of winning the league in our first season together and we hope for more successful seasons moving forward.”
But the plans do not stop there, with teams now being created for girls aged 13-16, with training beginning in July.
She added: “We are always looking to progress at the club and we are extremely excited to now have the academy for the under-16 and under-14 girls going ahead this July, which will open up a path for girls to train at a high standard and work up to our ladies team.
“We have further plans to build on more age groups over the next few years and give the opportunity of participation for all age groups for girls as well as the boys at the club.”
Josh is keen to make sure Weston Ladies is not just a single team and it becomes a club just like the men’s side.
He said: “To have the facilities from the men’s team has been great and to use the pitch has been a good thing for us, as we have had a lot of challenges in the league this season.
“We have been on our way to matches and the other side has called it off, and we have basically played in parks sometimes.
“Being at The Woodspring Stadium has allowed us to be more professional. It is quite a successful area for women’s football, with Yeovil and Bristol City competing in the top flight. We want to push ourselves to be one of those clubs and give it a real go.”
To enquire about playing for Weston Ladies, contact Stacie Morrissey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org