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Women's Football News
Next week sees our preparations for the new season get under way in earnest when we travel to Belgium to play a double header of friendlies.
These two games are important to our preparations for the vital Euro 2013 qualifier against Scotland next month. We have a few things we need to tie down before then and so this whole camp is ideal for the squad to get together for a week and prepare.
I believe that Belgium are perfect opponents for us next week. They are improving, as are we, and it will be a tough game but it will also enable us to work on the things that we need to.
We were in the same World Cup qualifying group as Belgium last time around and both matches turned out to be very close ones. They beat us with an injury time winner at Haverfordwest but we gained revenge and did exactly the same over there in the return game, so it will be tempting to see if we have progressed since then.
I think every game you play is a guide to see the team's progression, however I don't think we will need to dwell on the results too much. The most important thing is that we get what we need out of the games and focus on the things that need to be worked on and put right for September. Obviously we would like the wins though!
Last month we played a behind closed doors game with North Korea and did not let ourselves down in a 4-2 defeat against top class opposition. There were plenty of positives to take from the game but it also highlighted a few things that need to be improved. It was an important match for us to play as I believe we now have a good gauge of where we are at.
Our Under-19 captain Lauren Price has become the latest player to be called up for the seniors and Josie Green is another who is back with us. It is good to see youngsters coming through and also to see that they are ready. In the past 18 months we have gone from having an experienced squad to now having to bring youngsters through but it is important we do that and it just shows that our structure is working because these players are slotting in with no problems.
The games against Belgium will start what is a huge 12 months for women's football in Wales. To be in the situation we are now in from the senior team, who are challenging for a play-off place, to hosting the Under-19 Championships next summer, just shows the strides we are making as a nation. We still have a lot to do but this just emphasises the work that is being done and that the mentality of the staff and players is good and heading in the right direction.
I have been in the Welsh set up for a long, long time (too long ha!) and it is so pleasing to see what is happening with women's football in the country. The future is a good one and there is plenty of potential to make the next 5-10 years better and better.
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