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Women's Football News
Cardiff Met Ladies take a step into the unknown this week when they travel out to Bosnia to play in their qualifying group for the UEFA Women's Champions League.
The university side won the Welsh Premier Women's League title last season under their former name of UWIC and captain Siobhan Humphrey told Women's Soccer Scene that they cannot wait to go out there.
"The squad is very positive," said Siobhan. "We've played a few friendlies and had a 5-6 week training camp which has been really intense and really good preparation. We're all pretty confident and looking forward to going."
Cardiff Met will be up against group hosts WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo as well as ASA Tel Aviv of Israel of Republic of Ireland title winners Peamount United and Ellen Huxtable admits they will be unknown opposition. "I don't know much about them but I am sure they're not going to know much about us either," she said.
"We've tried to keep everything in our squad and haven't given much away so we're just going over there hoping to give our all and really trying to get something out of the competition."
Cardiff Met clinched the league title with a victory over Wrexham in the Play-Off Final and became the first team after Swansea City to be crowned as Welsh Champions.
"We'd always been in high competition with Swansea City but unfortunately they had always pipped us to the post every time, but this year it's our turn," added Ellen. "We're going to go out there and show them why we won the Welsh League and hopefully we'll show them that Wales have got a bit of talent.
"For our club, it's the first time we've been in Europe so getting anywhere near second or topping the group would be brilliant for us, a great achievement and I am sure the university would give us a lot of credit for that and also for Wales - our senior team are doing very well at the moment and hopefully we can step up as well and show them we are just as good."
"We got through the league and we're going to bring our game and hopefully go there and win," said Nadia Lawrence. "If we don't, we will bring back experience and develop as a squad."
Nadia, who won her first full cap for Wales this week, has been a key figure in Cardiff Met's success and is proof that players in the WPWL are good enough to play international football. "It is an honour to even get the chance to learn from players at that level and the coaching that Jarmo [Matikainen] and his team has to offer," she enthused.
"Once you get a taste, it's hard not to want more. It certainly shows that the Welsh Premier League can offer you that opportunity and I would like to say thank you to Kerry Harris for the development programme she has offered at Cardiff Met as we have all learnt so much. We will go to Bosnia and give everything to represent the WPWL and we will learn, develop as a team and most definitely enjoy the experience."
As well as on the pitch, much also has be arranged for the remainder of the trip but Siobhan is more than satisfied with the outcome and what will face them when they are in Bosnia. "Our coach Kerry Harris has had a hard time organising everything with Lucy Kelly from the FAW," she revealed. "It has been a hard time organising things such as kit, flights etc which has been difficult but it's all sorted now.
"I think [the facilities] will be of a high standard - all of our games will be in the national stadium so it will be really interesting to see what they have got over there.
"Kerry Harris has done a lot of work for us behind the scenes and also we have had a Strength and Conditioning coach, Dai Watts, who has done a lot of extra sessions with us - strength and power work with speed sessions and I think that's going to make the difference when we are out there."
For Siobhan herself, having captained her team to the league title and Welsh Cup Final last season, she is relishing the chance to lead her side out in Champions League football. "It would be fantastic, the biggest opportunity I've ever had as a player and I'll be so proud to do that for the university," she smiled.
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