As the focus continues on our young teams this #YouthDevelopmentWeek, Girls U16s Manager Nic Streatfield reviews his side's season…The eighteen girls in our U16s squad have been brilliant throughout this challenging and disjointed season. Despite the lockdowns and and Covid self-isolations the girls have remained dedicated to their football and have represented the club with distinction both on and off the pitch.
With two league games to play we are likely to finish runners-up in Division One of the West Riding Girls Football League. This is the third biggest girls league in the country encompassing teams from West and North Yorkshire. The girls also have a WRGFL cup semi-final to look forward to. Reaching, and winning, another cup final would be the perfect way to bookend this season having started this season victorious in a cup final held over from 2019/20.
As befits a community club, success is not just about results and every single one of the girls has developed impressively and improved their overall game this season. Given a third of the squad are in their first season playing 11-a-side they have adapted brilliantly and the development of their footballing ability, tactical knowledge, positive communication and game management has been a joy to behold. The girls have learnt female football is a tough physical game and have given their all for the Harrogate Town badge playing some exceptional attacking football, scoring lots of goals (averaging 4.6 goal per game) and, alongside all the hard work, having fun.
The squad have really appreciated the Ladies first team players who have come down to run training sessions for them. These have been both enjoyable and inspirational for all involved and show the importance of linking the junior female section to the adult teams in the club.
Throughout lockdown the team kept supporting each other as the girls took it in turns to set a skill and a fitness session for all to do each week. We also had weekly Zoom socials ranging from physical workouts, ball skills, quizzes, guess the baby picture, baking competitions and a hard-fought parents v girls music battle to determine the songs in the girls matchday playlist.
Including the league games, cup matches and friendlies we have played 19 games this interrupted season, winning 16, losing 3, scoring 88 times, conceding 33 and keeping 9 clean sheets. With three (or four if we reach the Cup final) games to play a century of goals remains possible. The girls are already looking forward to playing at U17s level next season as they have a hunger to improve on what has already been a successful season.
Thanks go to all at the club who have supported the team, the parents for their ongoing positivity and help on matchdays, to Kirk Deighton Rangers JFC for their hospitality in allowing us to play at their ground, to the coaches Guy Devereux and Les Johnson and especially to the girls who have shown great maturity, resilience and camaraderie to create a brilliant team ethos which bodes well for the future of female football at Harrogate Town.
Nic Streatfield, Girls U16s Manager
2020/21 Squad - Taia Port, Ellie Wilson, Olivia Delaney, Natasha Abbott, Robyn McKendrick, Lily Pritchard, Hannah McHugh, Maddie Ashby, Millie Watson, Lydia Corner, Bella Devereux, Maddie Dennis, Lucy Taylor, Liv Johnson, Eva Jenkins, Niamh Tyssen, Gabi Hall, Ciara Streatfield