Lee Walshaw, general manager of Sheffield United Ladies, believes today’s game against Jersey Women marks another important phase in the team’s development.
Dan O’Hearne’s side, who unveiled Carla Ward as his assistant earlier this week, arrived on the island last night for this afternoon’s match in St. Helier.
Despite being a friendly, Walshaw told The Star that contesting their first match overseas represents an important learning curve for O’Hearne’s players as they pursue their ambition of achieving Women’s Super League 1 status within five years.
“The team are representing Sheffield United Football Club, they are travelling as a group and they will be attracting attention because of that,” Walshsaw said. “It’s another taste of what being a footballer, at the highest levels, is all about.”
“If we get to where we want to be, then overnight stays are going to become much more common,” he added. “Because we aren’t professional at the moment, some players haven’t been able to make it due to work commitments but that has enabled us to bring some of the younger ones along to sample what’s happening and be a part of it.”
United, who hosted their counterparts from Jersey earlier this year, fought-off competition from around 20 clubs to secure Ward’s services after the former Sheffield FC captain was impressed by co-owner Kevin McCabe’s determination to develop the women’s game at Bramall Lane.
“People are well aware of Kevin McCabe’s plans for United Ladies and people in the game are standing up and taking notice,” Ward said. “I’m very excited by the project.”