FANCY A GO AT THE WSL? JUST COME FOR A TRIAL
TURNING up to your home-town football club for open trials sounds like the stuff of dreams, but Ashleigh Goddard insists London Bees’ unorthodox recruitment policy is paying dividends year after year.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder signed last season, having shone in open trials, and went on to make the second most appearances at the club – scoring seven goals – as the Bees achieved their best-ever finish in the WSL.
Goddard had returned from a stint across the pond with DePaul University in Chicago, where she had a scholarship, to find her opportunities to play top-level football limited.
But, after combining her work as a PE teacher at Dwight School with playing for the Bees, Goddard is urging her side to keep on giving Barnet’s brightest the chance to shine at the Hive.
“The open trials are a great way for us to recruit new players and that’s how I got into the Bees, Paula Howells too,” she said.
“It’s a brilliant opportunity for young girls to come forward and I think we’ve found some good talent this year.
“I’ve never heard of any other team doing it.We really try to advertise ours because it has been so successful.
“It was the first trial I’d been to and it worked out perfectly.
“All the current squad are there. It’s a training session and the trial is within that.
“When you’re at a trial you’re nervous and want to impress, and it’s nice having all the team around you.
“That gets the best out of people and that is only going to improve our team.
“We’re all still semi-professionals, so it’s good to be based so close to home. But it’s a matter of pride, too, and a bonus to still be representing my home-town club.”
The Bees made a big statement over the winter, hiring former Bristol Academy boss Dave Edmondson to take the reins as they look to push further up the WSL 2 table.
He has enjoyed plenty of success in women’s football, taking the Vixens to the Champions League quarter-finals after winning the Australian title with Melbourne Victory.
Goddard believes he is the perfect man to move the Bees up the standings.
She added:“Dave has come in and everything is very positive.
“We were a little down at the end of last season but now everything is way more upbeat.
“We’re looking to be a lot more of an attacking side, which, for me as an attacking player, is very exciting.
“Our style of play was something that needed to be changed for us to take a step forward.
“Dave has come in and done what seems to be a very good job so far.
“But we realise that everyone is trying to strengthen their squad, so I’m not going to come out and say we are going to win the league.
“It’s about us grabbing hold of Dave’s knowledge.
“I think, as a minimum, we should be looking at the top half of the table. “I’m excited for everyone to see the changes we’ve made.”
BEES FAN: Goddard in action for Barnet