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After two and a half years in charge of Sheffield FC Ladies' development team, Zoe Johnson has been appointed as first team coach as the Club prepares for its debut season in the FA Women's Super League.
Johnson has accepted the offer of the role from new first team manager, Mick Mulhern, and it's the logical step for the talented coach as she prepares to take her UEFA 'A' licence later this season. "I was looking for an assistant after my appointment," explained Mulhern, "and was immediately impressed with Zoe's manner, enthusiasm, honesty and knowledge when we met at the Club. I've always given youth their chance on the field, and helped young coaches develop off it, so the decision to ask Zoe to step up and assist me was an easy one to make."
Johnson came to Sheffield in 2013 having had coaching roles at Leicester City WFC and Blackburn Rovers, and took charge of the reserve team in the FA Women's Premier League. She settled into the role very quickly, leading the team to two good league finishes as well as the FA WPL Reserve Cup title last season, the team's first trophy since its formation in 2008.
Last year, Johnson worked with the first team in the second half of the season as the push for the FA Women's Premier League title intensified. She played a vital part in the team successfully achieving that goal, and in the Club's ultimate objective of winning the Championship Play Off Final, and thus progressing to the FA Women's Super League.
General Manager, Helen Mitchell, paid tribute to the invaluable contribution Johnson has made already to the Club: "Zoe has just been a brilliant addition to the coaching staff at Sheffield FC, and has thrown herself 100% into things here. She understands completely what this Club is about, and has proved herself not only to be a very capable coach, but someone who is passionate about what she does, pays enormous attention to detail, and is an exceptionally hard-working and dedicated person."
"Zoe has a passion for player development, and the work she has done with the development team group has been fantastic - something that is evident not just from the excellent start the team has had in that league, but from the way the players respond to her and the high regard they have for her. I know leaving the development team role has been a really tough decision for Zoe, but she'll still have a massive role to play in those players progressing as individuals, and transitioning through to the first team. "
"Her knowledge of the current players and her understanding of the Club ethos and ways of working make her the ideal candidate to work alongside Mick as the Club enters this new phase, and I have absolutely no doubt that Zoe will be a key part of the Club moving forward."
Johnson is already working hard in the role with the first team back in training, and is looking forward to the year ahead: "It's a great opportunity for me to step up to the first team and work alongside someone with the experience and reputation of Mick Mulhern, so I'm very grateful to Mick for offering me my new role. It's something I'm really looking forward to and I'm ready to embrace the challenge ahead."
"I've had a lot of support from the Club, Mitch, and both development and first team players in my new role so far which has been nice. I've really enjoyed my time managing the development squad, and couldn't have asked for a better group of players. We've some fantastic young players here at Sheffield FC that I'm sure will be joining me in making that step to the first team very soon, and it's something I'll certainly be keen to still push for, as I know Mick is too."
"This is a special Club to be a part of, and we've made a great start in our first season in the WSL Development league, and taken a few people by surprise so hopefully the first team can do the same. There are some great players here already, and some more quality coming in, which I'm sure is going to make this first season in the Women's Super League an interesting one."
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