Watling: This is the best place for me


Southampton FC Women’s latest arrival Ciara Watling is already feeling confident in the shape of Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s squad ahead of their most important campaign to date.

Watling, Saints' third summer recruit, adds to a growing list of experienced talent to join the women's ranks as they look to make an immediate impact on the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier.

The experienced midfielder has already spent some time getting to know her new teammates and surroundings on the south coast, confessing that the ambition of the club is what drew her here.

“I’ve been here for a week so far and I think I’m settling in really well,” the Northern Ireland international said. “I’m really enjoying it.

“It’s always a bit nervous coming in, you never really know what to expect. I’m really close with Leeta Rutherford, we played together at Millwall when I was younger and at Crystal Palace.

“The new players I’ve met, most of them are quite young but really nice, really welcoming and really good players as well. It’s been great off and on the pitch.

“The management have been involved in senior football, international football and my goal is to play for Northern Ireland and reach the Euros, I feel like this is the right place for me.”

Watling admits that recent signing and Northern Ireland teammate Laura Rafferty was influential in the 28-year-old’s move to the south coast.

“My best friend Laura Rafferty signed here. I’ve known her for a while now but before she even came here, she’s close to the club and knows a lot of people here.

“She’d always be talking about how good it is, up and coming. I always knew it was a good club and since she’s come here and said how good the training is, the facilities, the management, the young girls – everyone. I’ve just been really interested.”