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Women's Football News
West Ham United will start the new FA Tesco Women's Premier League Southern Division campaign with a new first team manager.
Julia Setford steps up from her Assistant Manager role into the position relinquished by Tony Marshall, who will be taking on a more strategic role as Director of Football, trying to further develop the club's growth and profile both from a football and commercial standpoint working closely with West Ham United Football Club and also the club's academies in the USA.
Marshall has led the club through the most successful period in their history and established them as one of the leading sides in the division so Setford, who in eight seasons with the club has made over 150 first team appearances, will be taking charge of a squad aiming to press on from their top five finishes in each of the last three seasons and secure promotion to the National Division.
Explaining the switch, Marshall stated: "It was always the long term plan for Julia to step up as we have now established ourselves as a top level side within the Southern Division. Our commitment to progressing as a club has been highlighted by the creation of two new sides in the last two seasons at senior levels which along with our current sides at Under 10, 12, 14 and the UK Tesco Cup Championship winning Under-16s, means our future has never looked brighter with a real pathway to senior football.
"The Under-19s finished in a credible mid-table position playing in a senior league with a side made up of predominantly 16 and 17-year-olds and we now have the exciting prospect of having established a real West Ham United Ladies Academy in partnership with Havering Sixth Form College which starts in September 2010, where we will have 20 girls training and playing daily in conjunction with their post-16 A level and B Tec further education.
"In addition, the West Ham United FC USA Academy run by Mike Kelleher, which has involvement from the Head of the WHUFC Academy, Tony Carr and Paul Heffer, is well underway and provides us with another strong partnership with the main club. We have already had player exchanges and are working towards further pathways for our players to achieve academic scholarships.
"It has been a privilege working with the girls since taking over the Under-12s in 2002 but the club has now grown to such a size that, along with my own international business commitments, my talents are better served working with our parent club and pushing for our real aim of playing in the National Division and making sure we are on a sound footing from an infrastructure perspective. I will be working closely with Julia and the club committee to implement some key initiatives and continue to raise the profile of the women's set up."
Julia Setford was quick to praise the work of her predecessor: "I'd like to thank Tony for all of the good work that he has done for the team and club. I worked as Tony's number two last season, where I gained invaluable knowledge of the job and hope that this will make my transition to first team manager as seamless as possible and I will continue to encourage good habits, discipline and above all attractive football.
"I am excited by this new opportunity and look forward to working with the squad and through hard work, dedication and commitment move forward as a team to achieve our dreams and make West Ham Ladies Football Club an exciting place to be both on and off the field."
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