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Charlton off to Portugal
 Women's Football News 13 Aug 2013
 
Charlton off to Portugal - 13 Aug 2013 - Women's Football NewsCharlton Athletic will become the first ever English female football team to travel to the renowned Browns Sports and Leisure Club, Vilamoura, Portugal, this week as part of their pre-season preparation. 
 
Whilst on the five day pre-season training camp, the Addicks will test themselves against A Dos Francos, a top division Portuguese team who have strengthened this summer by signing a number of players from former national champions S.U. 1 de Dezembro.
 
The club has been used in recent years by top teams in both the men's and women's game, including women's world champions Japan and other countries such as Denmark and Iceland. Men's teams that have visited the resort recently include Crystal Palace, Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town.
 
Chairman Stephen King, who arranged the training camp, said: "England are probably the only national team that haven't been there.
 
"We are the first English club side to go over there so they are quite keen to have us and we're quite keen to set that precedent."
 
On how the trip came about, he added: "When we applied for the Women's Super League, if we had been successful there, I thought something like this pre-season would be a good way to start it.
 
"When we didn't get in, we decided to try and replicate as much as possible what would have happened had we been accepted."
 
The club has some of the best facilities around, with grass, astro and sand football pitches, as well as a gym, physio area, tennis courts, a dining room - "everything you can possibly want really".
 
Stephen believes it will be a great experience for the club, both in terms of helping new first team manager Stuart Weston prepare for the new season and also as a team bonding exercise. He said: "It's a professional kind of thing to do and we want to give an impression of being professional. It's not just that, it's the whole way Stuart is looking to build this club for next season.
 
"At the time it was going to be experiencing the hot conditions but with the couple of weeks we have had here, it is just as hot here as over there, the heat won't be such a novelty.
 
"Although it is about training and getting ready for the season, it's not all hard work and there will be a little bit of relaxation.
 
"It just seemed like a good idea to get a number of our players over there so we could get a good start to the season and get a bit of team bonding going.
 
"I'm hoping everybody takes it seriously but also enjoys what they are doing."
 
(David Brenchley)

 
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