The girls began pre-season during the Women’s World Cup where the England Lionesses won over a nation, breaking down stereotypes about the women’s game and creating a new legion of fans. Williams believes this can have an impact at a local level and with Gills leading the way in Kent, hopes more fans will support their local team.
On the back of Gills Ladies #FixtureReleaseDay captain Lauren Williams reveals her excitement for the upcoming season.
The squad has been back in pre-season training with new management team Darren Hare and Jack Wheeler. With the fixture schedule released this week, the Gills skipper revealed the excitement in the camp has gone up a notch.
“When the fixtures are released it all becomes a bit more realistic and we can now look forward to Ipswich at home for our first game which hopefully will be a good game to start the season off with.”
“We are really looking forward to testing ourselves against the likes of Crystal Palace, MK Dons and Ipswich but to be honest every game we will look forward to and look to put in good performances each week.”
Gillingham Ladies will be facing a whole host of new teams this season; with a new league comes new challenges and Williams is excited to lead the club during this chapter.
“I think everybody involved at the club is excited for the start of the season and although its a new league with different challenges we are really looking to improve as a club in all aspects next season.”
“On the pitch we are looking to put in good performances which will hopefully get us some better results. Off the pitch we are still trying to have a strong link with the Centre of Excellence to help aid the transition for players making the steps up to senior football.”
Hare and Wheeler take over management of Kent’s best women’s team and Williams explained how high standards have already been put in place.
“Pre season has been really good so far” Williams said. “It has by no means been easy and both Jack and Darren are putting us through our paces on the training ground. We are all working hard and the effort from the girls has been second to none. We are collectively very tight as a group and a real team feel around the club is starting to take place which is fantastic.”
“I think it is extremely important for people who have followed England Ladies and the World Cup to come and support their local team because not only will they be supporting the team in their local area but they will also get a great insight into women’s football and will be able to see it first hand.”
Williams added, “For people who have never watched the women’s game in person, when they are spoken to after the game they always seemed to be surprised and impressed at the standard of football being played. The game is progressing in all aspects both on and off the pitch and for this to continue we need lots of support at matches in all levels of the game.”
Williams had the honour of leading Gillingham Ladies out at Priestfield Stadium as they made history as one of the first women’s team to grace their men’s stadium. The opening day of the season clash against Keynsham Town attracted a record breaking crowd, asked whether the club could match or beat that for the opening game against Ipswich on Sunday 16th August, Williams replied;
“I think right now especially with the success of the World Cup, anything is possible. We had a fantastic amount of support last year and if we can get the same level of that this season it would be brilliant.”
“We know how difficult Sundays can be for some people to come out and support however we appreciate it all so much and really do feel it gives us that extra lift on the pitch.”
For anyone considering popping down to watch the ladies play their opening FA WPL game of the season, Williams said the welcome from the squad and staff would be a very warm one.
“Come down and have fun day watching some great football. It is shaping up to be a good start to the season with Ipswich sure to be a tough opposition. You may even be surprised at the standard of football we play at Gillingham and in Kent because the things we are doing in pre season look very promising!”
Williams added, “I would personally like to thank all the support we had last season from everyone. From all the mascots we had, to the parents and coaches bringing them and all the other Gillingham fans that made it down to watch us.”
“We hope your support can continue into this season and with both Jack and Darren taking over we are really looking to have a good season with the aims and expectations being set very high!”
“Please come and help ‘Roar us on’.”
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