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Shannon Moloney is aiming to play her part in helping Southampton Saints climb back up the women's football ladder this season.
After a difficult few months, the Saints battled successfully against relegation and the teenage midfielder is one of several players who have been brought in during the summer.
Shannon signed for Southampton from Queen's Park Rangers and she told Women's Soccer Scene that she is looking forward to the challenge with her new club. "I was a bit unsure about leaving QPR at first, after four years with the club," she says. "But when I got to Southampton Saints, it was great - the manager Symon Pickett is lovely and the girls were really welcoming.
"Things have been going good for me so far, I played my first friendly against AFC Bournemouth last Sunday and it was such a great feeling, I felt really comfortable."
Shannon is a former member of the Arsenal Academy and now attends the Portsmouth Academy at Southdown College. She forced her way into the first team at QPR and played regularly in midfield for Rangers as they finished fourth in the South West Combination last season. "Up until Christmas, we were top of the league," she adds. "However we then had a long break and things went downhill from there, we were never able to catch up the ground. I am really sad to be moving from QPR as I had a big bond with everyone there, but I felt it was the right time to leave.
"This will be the first time I have played in the Premier League but I did play against Watford in the F.A.Cup last season, it was tough but I enjoyed the challenge."
Now the new challenge begins on Sunday but Southampton's first opponents will be familiar to Shannon, as they play her old league rivals Keynsham Town. "It's not an easy start as Keynsham are a really skilful team, very quick," she admits. "We had three good games against them last season when I was at QPR, and I am looking forward to taking them on again."
Looking beyond the first game, Shannon is confident that the new look Saints side can make a good impression and, although a newcomer to the club, is already fully aware of the South Coast derby matches. "To finish high up the league this season would be amazing," she enthuses. "It will take 100% effort from the girls as we have some really talented players but a young squad. Krystal Whyte is an amazing player who should score goals for us and Kirsty Bell is good as well, while some of the new players should do well at this level.
"I am looking forward to playing against Portsmouth. They are always very strong and tough to play against, and the two teams have a great rivalry, which I am finding out about!
"On a personal level, I want to improve as a player. It will be interesting to get through the season with the girls and see how far we get.
"I think that I have gone to one of the best places in England for improving yourself and going on to better things. So many players have gone on to play for England after starting off at Southampton and I would love to play for my country one day."
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