The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

SOUTHAMP­TON are to take over the Hamp­shire County FA girl’s cen­tre of ex­cel­lence to launch a women’s club di­rectly as­so­ci­ated with the club.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Les Reed told the BBC Ra­dio So­lent fans’ fo­rum on Mon­day of his plans to de­velop a women’s team to even­tu­ally play at the high­est level.

He said: “Part of our five year plan in­volved lengthy dis­cus­sions about women’s foot­ball. It takes a long time to get to WSL level, so where we have started is by tak­ing over, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Hamp­shire FA, the girls cen­tre of ex­cel­lence.

“Next sea­son it will be­come Southamp­ton ladies.We will de­velop it in the same way that we have de­vel­oped the academy here.”

The Saints cur­rently have three ladies teams close the club, but at a lower level, and will look to de­velop young play­ers through this launch.

“We would love to get to the Women’s Su­per League,” Reed said.

“But we will do it step-by-step by grow­ing from the grass-roots of ladies foot­ball through an elite pro­gramme for the girls.

Our am­bi­tion at the end of the day will ul­ti­mately be to have a Women’s Su­per League team play­ing for Southamp­ton.”

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