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Womens Football News Archive - 8th August 2003
New manager Sue sets sights on quick return.
Sue Lopez MBE has been given the task to try and take Southampton Saints back into the National Division following their relegation at the end of last season. Goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne (pictured), who was picked in the England senior squad for their North American tour in May, will be a crucial player in the Saints' cause as well as Scottish international Holly Anderson.
Both were at Arsenal's Academy together, as were Emma Delves, who has also signed. Both Holly and Emma were also members of Saints Girls Centre of Excellence, so it will be a good re-union for the club. These three, along with England under-17 international Cassie Thorp, and England under-15 squad player Kelly Baker, help form a youthful but talented squad, which also has some sound stalwarts in skipper Lynn Armstrong, former England and Arsenal midfielder Alex Cottier, and full back Marie O'Brien who has been at the club for over six years.
There are also young players who have come through Southampton's successful youth programme who have not yet gained international recognitioin but are still very promising. These include 16-year-old Gemma Woodford and 18-year-old Kim Carey, who has just gained a place at Bath University.
"It was a big surprise to take over the first team, as well as continue to be Director of Saints girls Centre of Excellence and the Academy, but I have a good coaching staff around me so I will be able to juggle everything," Sue told Women's Soccer Scene. "We are working hard on our fitness and welding together what is essentially a talented young squad with some sound older heads. Its been disappointing to see our established youth internationals move on but they understandably wanted Premier League football as they saw that as the route to senior England status. I have worked with former England under-19 Corinne Yorston and England under-17 Danni Bird (both now at Fulham) at our Centre of Excellence for a number of years and was looking forward to taking them on further, but I have every confidence in the next generation of youngsters and the established players to do a thoroughly professional job. Basically, all the players and coaches know there is only one objective over and above all others, and thats to get Saints promoted!"
Saints have beaten an American XI 4-1 and Crystal Palace 3-0 in friendlies and are still looking to strengthen their squad for a promotion push.
Southampton Saints were one of the first 22 Centres of Excellence started by the Football Association in 1998 and In the five years that the Centre has been going, they have brought through 16 girls who reached international youth teams or development squads. These include Shelly Cox (now Leeds) who has just played in England's under-19 European defeat in Germany, Corinne Yorston (now Fulham) who is now too old for the England under-19's but was a regular, Holly Anderson was Scotland under-19 and now senior squad, whilst Gemma Ritchie, now of Fulham, was England under-16, and Danni Bird (also now Fulham) is England under-17. Other products include the likes of Charlie Wilson, Laura Froggatt and Lisa Richmond, who will be competing against the Saints this year for newly promoted Portsmouth.
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