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Charley signs first professional contract
 Women's Football FA Women's Championship News - 2 Jun 2021
FA Women's Championship News - Charley signs first professional contract - 2 Jun 2021 - Women's Football NewsSheffield United Women are delighted to announce youngster Charley Docherty has signed her first professional contract at the club ahead of the 2021-22 season.
The club have received a further boost with the news that midfielder Sophie Walton has signed a new deal at the club and will remain a Blade.
Docherty turned 18 at the end of May and has now put pen-to-paper professional contract after stepping up to the first team last summer shortly after head coach Neil Redfearn arrived at the club.
The teenager can play a range of positions and has progressed through the club's development system since first joining at the age of 13, culminating in her senior debut against Leicester City in the FA Women's Championship back in January.
After impressing throughout the campaign in training and appearing in several matchday squads, Redfearn is delighted another one of his exciting young players will be staying at the club.
"She's got to take great credit for the way she has performed and developed as a player. We've got really high hopes for Charley and it's fantastic to sign her," he said. "She's a vital part of the group and she'll probably get a lot more minutes this season."
Docherty added: "It feels unreal. It feels like a lot of hard work is definitely starting to pay off. I think over the last year is where I've made most of my development as a player.
"I trained partly within the first team when I was with the development side, but this year has really opened my eyes to aspects of the women's game I didn't realise, just how much hard work it takes to be performing consistently at this level. I've learned a lot from those around me, especially Redders and some of the older girls, it's definitely been a year of learning."
Walton joined the club last summer from FA Women's National League side Nottingham Forest and will now take on a player/coach role for the new season and add invaluable experience to head coach Neil Redfearn's staff.
The 31-year-old has a vast array of experience of top level football having spent several seasons playing in the FA Women's Super League, as well as representing Notts County in the 2015 FA Cup final at Wembley.
Walton made 14 appearances during her first campaign in red and white and the midfielder is looking forward to what lies ahead for her when the new season gets under way.
"I'm over the moon to be fair. I enjoyed my season last year, I took the step into the Championship and it took me a bit of time to find my feet, but it's a good club, it's a family club, I was welcomed from the first day and it's a great group of girls, I'm excited to see what we can do this year.
"I think the new role will suit me. Four or five years ago I didn't have much interest in that side of the game, but as I've got older and seen how some of the younger girls have taken to me, I definitely think it's a role I can have an impact with now."
Head coach, Neil Redfearn, added: "It's fantastic for us. It's important for me that Sophie is coming this side too because she's got vast experience as a player, great knowledge of the women's game and vastly respected by her team mates."

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