Katy Sandalls: Suffolk’s women’s football is on the up

The Stowupland Falcons U10 girls team Picture: KELLY MASON

The Stowupland Falcons U10 girls team Picture: KELLY MASON - Credit: Archant

This month Katy Sandalls looks at some huge changes to women’s football in Suffolk.

Welcome back to another busy, busy month in the world of women’s football and where do we start?

Let’s start in the west of the county where it has been a big month for AFC Sudbury who have undergone some big restructuring changes in its women’s football set up.

The club has decided to create a pathway from the U8s Wildcat team up to the female youth teams and eventually the senior team.

The club has gone as far as to change their name as well.

Club chairman Andrew Long explained: ‘We will no longer be called AFC Sudbury Ladies as this is a complete rebranding of our female football offer, we will have the AFC Sudbury Senior team for Women in the same way as we have an AFC Sudbury Team for the Men.

“The new branding of Women’s & Girls football in is line with the Football Association and as mentioned in line our whole club name AFC Sudbury!”

Most Read

AFC Sudbury will also be admitting girls full-time into its academy for the first time and has also appointed Adrian Goodwin, formerly of East Bergholt as director of women’s & girl’s football.

This sounds like a fantastic step forward for one of Suffolk’s biggest teams and could really help the club to grow.

A big shout out to the Stowupland Falcon U10s team who got in touch this month to tell me about how they’ve been getting on.

The team is made up of 13 girls and play in the Suffolk FA U10 league.

The club and player’s parents have been really pleased with the large crowds that have come to support the team at home and away games and the real community feel and spirt the team have experienced.

It sounds like the players have got a real backing from people locally and even have their own sponsor, which is fantastic to hear.

Best of luck to the girls for the rest of their season!

Staying in Suffolk this month sees the semi-final fixtures of the Suffolk FA Women’s Cup with Ipswich Town Women taking on AFC Sudbury and Needham Market Women taking on Haverhill Ladies.

This means we are guaranteed a new finalist to this year’s competition as last year’s finalists Town and Sudbury are pitted against each other.

Best of luck to all four sides and if you can get out to their games then I would recommend that you do so.

It’s also important to note that one of those sides, Ipswich Town Women, has taken on a new manager this month.

Joe Sheehan takes over from Carla Dickinson until the end of the season.

Sheehan was previously the lead coach for the club’s under 21 side and also had a role in the Essex FA Regional Talent Centre.

He’s already tasted victory with the club having led the team to a comprehensive victory in the Women’s Cup quarter finals.

Looking internationally it’s been a superbly busy time for most international sides who have been playing in one of several tournaments that have been taking place across the globe.

The Algarve Cup and Cyprus Cup and She Believes Cup have all been taking place in the past month.

For England this was the She Believes Cup, an invitational tournament played each year in the US.

This year they took on Brazil, the US and Japan in the cup in their final tournament before the World Cup.

And what how fantastic it was to see the team win so impressively, beating Japan 3-0 on Tuesday night after drawing with the US and beating Brazil.

All so very positive ahead of, as I said, the World Cup later this year.

It’s great to see the England matches being so accessible these days.

It’s only two years since I remember having to find very obscure feeds with Norwegian commentators to actually find out how England were doing in matches.

It’s a real turning point to see games on tv, not catch up or red button.

Hopefully this level of coverage will continue to the World Cup with improved graphics that get the manger’s name correct.

Across the border Scotland have been playing in the Algarve Cup. Perfect preparation for their World Cup debut this summmer.

And that’s it! It has been a packed month for women’s football both in Suffolk and outside the county.

Thanks to everyone who got in touch this month with their news.

If you want to get in touch with me you can email katy.sandalls@archant.co.uk or tweet me @katysandalls.