Heath: Hard work paying off

By SFC Women Tue 17 Jul Womens and Girls
Photo by James Bridle

It's an exciting time for the development of Girls and Women's Football at Southampton.

The club has this week welcomed former England and FA coach Marieanne Spacey-Cale to the fold, aligned to the launch of its new International Development Programme, which are both positive steps for the future of the women's game at Saints.

General Manager, Martina Heath, has witnessed the transformation of the women's set-up over the past few years, underpinned by this week's announcements, and is particularly excited for what the future holds.

We began by asking Martina how the success of the club's Tier 1 Regional Talent Club has inspired the growth of women's football more broadly on the south coast.

"In terms of success on the pitch, the recognition that our girls have been given at international level is thoroughly deserved," Martina commented, alluding to the 18 young internationals who have progressed through the ranks in recent seasons.

"It's a lot of hard work from the staff, and it's a team effort. They've pushed the girls on and we've had representation at Under-15 through to Under-18 level.

Marieanne is such an exciting appointment for this club and for me personally.

martina heath

"We're definitely doing something right, and it isn't by chance or luck. It's working together.

"When I first started this position at the club, my priority was to ensure girls had an exit route post 16. We want to develop the talent and then keep them on board.

"We needed to ensure we had a bespoke programme for Southampton players. What can we do to make sure the player is at the centre of everything we're offering?"

Speaking about the appointment of the club's new Head of Girls and Women's Football, Martina added: "Marieanne is such an exciting appointment for this club and for me personally.

"She's got the experience of coaching and playing at elite level and developing both players and staff. That is important.

"It's very much about continuing to develop young players and giving talented players the opportunity to represent Southampton.

"The commitment from the club, from top down, has always been there but things take time. We're getting those building blocks in place now, and we want to make sure we do it in a way that best suits the club."

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