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Doncaster Rovers Belles have further bolstered their backline after stalwart skipper Leandra Little committed her future to the club.
The 31-year-old has been a leader at the heart of the Doncaster defence since her switch from Lincoln Ladies in 2011, and the Sheffield stopper was keen to continue as captain by penning extended terms with the FA WSL 1 club.
"I'm really pleased, I feel really positive with how the club is moving forward," Little told the club's official website. "It's great to be back in FA WSL 1, competing where, we believe, we belong. It's just obviously about proving that now. The mix of the full and part-time players will work well in our long-term vision so it's all really positive."
The towering centre-back, a former England basketball star, also wants to use her positive experiences in football to help youngsters - particularly those she teaches at All Saints Catholic High School in Sheffield.
"I've always been big on promoting women in sport and getting more girls into sport from a young age," she said.
"I want to demonstrate that there are pathways for young people if you want to get involved in sport, and stay in sport. If I can just show that I'm doing something I love as well as managing to balance a full-time job then hopefully that'll increase their participation as well."
Belles kick-started their pre-season plans yesterday which included new talents Natasha Dowie, Becky Easton and Anna Moorhouse meeting their team-mates for the first time. Little believes this calibre of new talent, combined with the promotion-winning contingent, sends out a strong message to their FA WSL 1 rivals.
"It's a really exciting time to be a Belles player. The team building session we did [on Sunday] epitomised that. We had so much fun together and it didn't feel like we'd got new members of the team, it felt like we'd been together for a lot longer," she said.
"It's been really enjoyable and the vision we're all a part of will move us forward as individuals and as a club."
With the new season set to kick off in the coming months, Little remained focused on Belles' ambition to rise to the challenge of top flight football.
"I think it's more than just staying up. We want to be competing in FA WSL 1 year in, year out, but I do really feel that the players we've brought in and those we've managed to keep hold of - we can challenge," she added.
"Sunderland showed last year that it's possible to go up, compete and do well. We're hoping to follow a similar model in terms of going up and competing with the best week in, week out, and we're not just there to make up the numbers."
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