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It has been a busy off season behind the scenes at Colchester United Ladies as the club has made moves to ensure operational and financial stability as they look to continue the club's impressive development.
Firstly, the club is now completely under the umbrella of the Colchester United Community Sports Trust, giving the programme greater administrative support and access to resources and facilities. The move has also facilitated the creation of a full time Director of Female Football position and the Trust has appointed Kevin Anderson to the post.
With previous playing and coaching experience at the highest levels in the United States, Kevin has more recently worked closely with England Under-19 coach Kay Cossington on the successful women's and girls' programme at Millwall and also has past experience at Colchester having previously served as a head coach at the U's Girls Centre of Excellence. Kevin will oversee all aspects of the Female Football Development Programme from grass roots through the Centre of Excellence and Female Academy programmes as well as the senior Ladies sides.
Following the departure of long time supremo Dimitri Halajko to the youth department at Colchester United FC, Anderson's first task was to assemble the management and coaching staff for the seniors. Steve Bartlett has been named as First Team Manager to work alongside Anderson as the U's look to improve on last season's sixth place finish.
On the appointment, Anderson commented: "Steve has been involved with the team for a few seasons now and will provide organization, tactical know how as well as an in depth knowledge of the players and the league. It was important that with Dimitri moving on that we gave the programme some continuity and Steve is more than capable and deserving of taking on the lead role.
"I'm looking forward to working with Steve, we've had some good discussions about the way forward and we can't wait to get the pre-season underway."
Colchester have also retained the services of physio Steve Spencer while David Coyle and Tom Gooder complete a quartet of UEFA 'B' Licenced coaches for the senior set up. Coyle will also serve as Academy manager, assisted by first team star Kate Longhurst who completed her UEFA 'B' Licence this summer becoming possibly the youngest female coach in the country to hold the award.
At the Centre of Excellence, Anderson will take on the role of Centre Director with Longhurst (Under-10s), Gooder (Under-14s), Essex FA Women's and Girls Development Officer Emma Wake (Under-16s) and UEFA 'B' License coach and former England international Tracy Doe (Under-12s) taking charge of the four teams.
In summary, Anderson added: "We now have the complete player pathway under one roof, fantastic administrative support, first class facilities and I feel our coaching staff is second to none. There has been a great foundation built here as evidenced by the quality of players we are graduating into the first team and even international squads. Its a great opportunity now to build on that foundation and position Colchester United as a major player on the national female football stage."
Colchester will begin their pre-season training on Tuesday June 30th and any experienced players who are interested in a trial period are asked to contact Kevin Anderson on (07809) 195001 or e-mail kanderson@cucst .org.uk.
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