Before her focus shifts to the upcoming FA Women’s Super League campaign, Reading FC Women’s manager Kelly Chambers reflects on what she believes is one of the strongest pre-seasons she has experienced in her managerial career.
“Pre-season has been a long one but it has been one of the best to date," Chambers said.
"It was hard and really challenged the players in many different ways, but one thing it definitely has done, is brought the group closer together.”
Part of the pre-season schedule saw the Royals embark on a training tour of Spain, which culminated in a friendly against Valencia CF Femenino who play their football in the Primera División, the top flight of Spanish Women’s football.
She continued: “We broke up pre-season with a nice trip to Valencia. It was great to spend time with each other in a different environment. The camp was pretty intense from start to finish but the players were great.
"It was an environment that allowed the players to work hard on the pitch, but off it, have time to spend with people and players they wouldn’t necessarily spend time with, to get to know each other more, create stronger bonds and understandings of each other. It was all about togetherness.
"The game against Valencia was great, it was nice to play a team with a diverse style that we aren’t used to back at home and a 2-2 draw is a decent result in Valencia. We played well, had huge spells of possession and were very unlucky not to walk away with the win.”
Now that the Royals’ first game of the new FA Women’s Super League season is less than three weeks away, when the team travels to Liverpool on September 8th, Chambers is happy to take the hard work, friendship, commitment and new lessons learnt into the 2019-20 campaign.
“I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of this year’s pre-season schedule and I truly believe the players have too," said Chambers. "I am excited for the start of season and to see the players bring everything together they have learned and gained and to really be a force to compete with in the WSL.
"We have obviously added some fantastic players to the group we had last season to improve us as a squad, but I believe this group have added and gained so much during pre-season that will make us stronger than last year.”