The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Jack Miller

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

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