Marieanne Spacey-Cale has hailed further progression for the Southampton FC Women’s programme, after sports scientist Dr Laura Bowen joined the set-up from the men’s first-team.
Following five seasons as part of a dedicated group of sports scientists within the men’s backroom staff, Bowen has now moved to become lead sports scientist with the Women’s team, bringing significant expertise with her.
Spacey-Cale praised the influence she has had already and said the addition further underlines the direction the programme is moving in.
“It’s given everyone a real push,” she said. “It’s brought a new sense of ‘we keep moving forward’.
“It’s not just her knowledge, her understanding, her experience, but who she is as a person. Laura has come into a programme where the girls are really committed to what they want to do.
“We have eight full-time members of staff and we always look at ‘best in class’. How do we keep enhancing this staff team?
“Where we are as a club is a result of the support, the backing, from the board down. Everything is now set up for us to be successful on the pitch.
“We have players who have the ambition, we have staff who have the ambition, we just need now to play the games.”
For Bowen, the prospect of becoming part of an ever-growing, evolving set-up that is the Women and Girls’ programme was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“I just couldn’t stop thinking about what a good project it would be, and how good a project it would be for me to develop and learn,” she said.
“I really like working with Marieanne because she knows what she wants and where she wants to be with a very clear mindset. Ralph [Hasenhüttl] is very similar in that respect.
“Ralph said to me it was an opportunity for me to grow and learn and to be a part of a bigger project and he was very supportive.”
Government guidelines have provided a hurdle for the Women’s team this season, something Bowen has had to navigate from day one.
“On the Monday I finished work with the first-team then on the Tuesday I woke up in my flat not being able to meet anyone,” she said.
“I met all of the players online and we’ve held online sessions and organised workshops, planning for the future.
“The plan is to get the girls in the best nick to compete not just for the level they’re at but for the future where we want to be.
“I genuinely don’t know if I can express how excited I am. The whole idea of not just thinking ‘can we win this weekend?’ but also ‘can we grow and be in the league above and the league above that.’
“The idea of growing that project and growing with those players is very exciting.”