TAUNTON Town Ladies have, like most clubs, been busy preparing for the new season full of unexpected twists and turns along the path to glory.
With a 3-2 victory over rivals Bishops Lydeard in their first game in the Eastern Division at the weekend, the team is in confident form and looking to maintain their momentum for the next match.
But first team captain and club secretary Kelly Saffin is still urging supporters and more eager players to come forward and show their interest in a team that has blossomed in quality both on and off the pitch.
Speaking to the County Gazette prior to last Saturday’s match, Kelly said: “There’s two teams so there’s a lot of places to fill and if you were to say you only need 22 people to fill two teams, you would never get those same 22 players turning up so we need a squad of about 30 to 35 because lots of our players work on a Sunday, have other commitments.
“We need that extra support to make sure that we can at least put out a decent 11 in each of our teams every single week.
“Last year, we had a squad of about 25 to 30 and we didn’t have enough some weeks for our development squad, so we’re trying to increase a lot more participation and we’ve found that a lot more kids are coming to join us now who are 15-years-old.
“When they turn 16 at any stage during the season, they can start going into our development squad. That’s something new this year because the rule for 16-year-olds has changed; if you weren’t 16 by August 31, you couldn’t play until the following season.
“This change has seen a lot younger people coming to train with us and getting them into the adult game pretty quickly.
“Our eldest player is 50 and she’s one of our central midfielders, the age range goes from all the way up to 50 to quite a few 30-year-olds and our youngest players at 15-years-old.
“We have a very good setup with some really good qualified coaches that help us on a Tuesday night for training. We’ve got a very good pitch, which is pretty much like playing on a carpet, a good stadium and facilities and a groundsman who was recently awarded Groundsman of the Year.”
It costs around £3,000 to run both teams, but skipper Saffin is confident the money has been well spent throughout the club.
She said: “I feel we’ve got something for everyone; the first team are in a very good league and have just moved across to the Eastern Division so we don’t have to travel quite as far than we did last season and less expenses needed for travel.
“This also means that we can put more money back into the club for things like training kits, facilities and more equipment. We’ve got more things happening at our club, we’re charter standard so we have to maintain that year after year.
“We got the Taunton men’s side that are really supportive and good youth system in place and we’re trying to link in with other teams within the community.
“We’ve been in talks with Minehead Ladies to try and get them set up ready for this season. I like to think we’re all looking out for each other in this area. We’re growing and growing and fast becoming one of the best teams in the Taunton area.
“We’ve gone through what other clubs are dealing with in setting up a new club and fighting losing battles, but we’ve got that stability now with players coming in and more training sessions available to players.
“We’re looking after our players and trying to give them as many options as possible.”
Taunton Town Ladies train on Tuesdays at the Blackbrook Pavilion fields from 7pm till 9pm.
Extra social sessions are also held on Thursdays and on selected weekends.