Reading FC Women manager Kelly Chambers has announced the club’s captaincy has been awarded to Natasha Harding ahead of the start of the new Women’s Super League campaign.
Harding, who boasts 79 caps for her native Wales, signed for Reading from Liverpool in January 2018 and has been a mainstay on the left wing since.
“I just had a flood of emotions when Kelly told me,” Harding said. “I was excited, anxious, happy and overwhelmed, but in a good way. I just couldn’t stop smiling.
“The one thing that stood out was what Kelly said to me – ‘don’t change’. For me that was something that I will take into my role as captain. I’m really proud and honoured to be captaining this group of very talented players.”
The captain’s armband had been vacant since previous skipper Kirsty Pearce retired at the end of last season. Pearce, now General Manager of Reading FC Women, captained the side to promotion to the WSL in 2015.
“I definitely have big shoes to fill, following Kirsty Pearce,” Harding continued. “She was a fantastic captain and a great person. That’s definitely one of the biggest things I’ve learnt from Kirsty; to be yourself and make the role your own. I won’t be as funny as her, but I’ll definitely try my best.”
As well as the new captaincy announcement, Chambers has named two Vice-Captains to support Harding in the upcoming season, in Remi Allen and Fara Williams.
Midfielder Allen signed from Birmingham City in 2016 and Williams, who is the most capped England player in history, joined the following season from current WSL champions Arsenal.
On her captaincy choice, manager Kelly Chambers said: “Tash was always somebody that I had in my head as a possible captain of this club. She is a player that gives everything when she’s in training and on the field. She is brilliant around the group, positive and really supports the players. She will be a great leader.”
“As for the co-Vice Captaincy, Fara is great for the group and has many different experiences that she can draw upon to help and support players, but also knows what it takes to win trophies. She loves the game, is always striving to be better and is a great role model for the players.
"Remi has always been a supportive member of the team who I have a great relationship with. She will be brilliant, along with Fara and Tash, to help push this group in the direction we want to go as a club and to keep every player on the same page with our targets and goals and how we can achieve them."
Reading’s Women’s Super League campaign begins on Sunday 8th September with an away trip to Liverpool FC Women; the first home game is against Manchester City at Adams Park on Sunday 15th September.