With Barnsley FC Women having moved to a more professional footing in the summer, we spoke with Julie-Anne Quay who was instrumental in the change for the North East League Premier Division side.
How and why did the team come to play under the Barnsley FC banner?
The team was already affiliated with the club and being run out of our Foundation program with the Reds in the Community team – we worked together to integrate them into the professional operations at the club and therefore professionalise the environment
Were there many changes or additions to players and staff for the new season?
Our goal has always been to build and develop so everyone who wanted to came into the professional program – including the coaching team – came across. We have added coaching support and sport science integrations from the Academy side. On the player side, our door is always open and we are always adding players who are interested – the core group of players in the team are strong and committed and inspiring us all.
Has the first half of the campaign been better than expected after promotion?
I think that it always takes some time to get acclimatised and reset in a new environment – so naturally it has taken a few months to get everything settled. It’s a big change for the players and the coaches and as well the staff at the club. I believe we are now starting to find our footing and really see the progress we are looking for. We are looking to continue to build and improve on the strong foundation Jess [Horsley] and the coaching team have established.
What have been the highlights of the campaign to date?
Highlights have to be the opening game at Oakwell in front of 2,000+ fans – it really is incredible the support we have from the local community and we are hoping to engage more and build together. We would like to build attendance and support at away games and those games that are not on the main pitch, as well develop sponsor support for the girls and the team.
You must be excited for the league to resume, as the title race seems very tight with many games to come against promotion rivals?
Yes very excited – game by game – one game at a time – every game is important.
Does any other side stand out as a favourite, or main rival, in the battle to go up?
Really it’s a very fluid top eight teams and because of that, every game is really important. We can only control our side of the pitch, so for us that is the main focus. I have great belief in the group we have put together and excited to see them do their thing.