Women’s football in Scotland is go­ing through something of a golden era at the moment. The national team is having decidedly more suc­cess than their male counterparts; qualification to the World Cup is very much a goal, the national team coach is on the shortlist for coach of the year and, in club competi­tion, Glasgow City have knocked out traditional powerhouse Royal Club Standard De Liege in the Champions League to set up a glam­our tie against Arsenal’s perrenially successful women’s team. The Saint, however, has cast a focus on our own very successful ladies team who are having a truly superb season. Taylor Gillespie picks up the story.

The St Andrews women’s foot­ball club is on fire. Since the begin­ning of this season, both squads have demonstrated determination and resilience in the face of chal­lenges both on and off the pitches. While the first team continues to dominate on the field, conceding only one goal in seven games with a 7-0-1 (WLD) record, the second team has also seen remarkable success. Most notably the second team ladies have managed a 5-1 victory over Edinburgh 2nds, who were ranked at the top of the league at the time. But, the season has not come with­out its difficulties. As the club con­tinues to improve and win matches, the search for a full-time coach is still underway. Although both teams have been doing exceptionally well, this time of transition for both teams means heavy reliance on Stuart Milne, coach of the men’s first team, and their respective captains, Marie Morrison and Meg Simchuk of the women’s first and Anna Wynick of the seconds. All of these members have continued to show unyield­ing dedication to the success of the club, thus leading both teams to an impressive start of the season. Similarly, both squads are backed by a core group of fourth years who provide a constant backbone for the teams both on and off the field. Their drive to be unstoppable in their final season manifests in their work ethic, and on the scoreboard. These girls have played together for four years now, and it shows.

However, the fourth year girls are not the only ones making a differ­ence in the club. This season helped welcome more first years than ever to the team, bringing in a new set of skills and energy. Numbers over the last four years have grown remark­ably and to keep up with the increas­ing demand the club has added a development squad that runs every Saturday from 14:00-16:00 on the grass pitches. This increase in num­bers is reflective of the club’s suc­cess over the past three years, where the club initially had barely enough members for a single team, yet now there is a high potential for three fixed teams.

Two strength and conditioning sessions have also been implement­ed this season, with the addition to the two weekly practice times. These sessions develop strength and body control and provide invaluable in­formation on how to maximise the physical potential of all these strong athletic women. The club has un­doubtedly benefited from these ses­sions as fitness continues to improve, which has often been a determining factor in the success of the first team, who are consistently able to out-run opponents in the final half.

Work hard, play hard; that motto still remains unquestionably true for the women of the football teams. While many things about the club have changed, our socials remain an exciting perk of being in the club thanks to Hannah Daffern and Hannah Morley who continuously rally the teams for team bonding outside of practice. Because there was such a struggle to find a sponsor for the 2013-2014 season, the social reps have been working hard to take on a fundraising focus. Selling Saints sunglasses and hosting a ‘Rubik’s Cube’ night at the Union to raise money for the club, the girls truly have put the hours in. However, after months of searching, the team has finally become sponsored by 1 Golf Place. The enjoyment of weekly match tea and celebrations of Man of the Match and Dick of the Day start here before hitting the town each Wednesday, celebrating all along the way.

The Women’s Football Club has seen countless changes in the last year. From adjusting to numerous new coaches, each with unique ex­pectations and coaching styles, to ex­ponentially increasing membership, additional training techniques and practices, and even a new type of pitch, each challenge has been taken in stride. These inconsistencies have made the teams stronger and more flexible, able and ready to adapt. But despite the current success, the season is far from over. Maintaining integrity, drive and spirit can prove challenging, especially in the face of uncertainty. By continuing to work hard and work together, there will be many more celebrations in the fu­ture for these football ladies.

Mon the Saints!

If any club would like to feature in the next issue of The Saint, please email the editor at sport@thesaint-online.com

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