We reflect on our girls 7 year history and are now looking to add a Senior Women’s team to our programme. We’ve achieved so much throughout our growth as a club and here is a few to mention.
This Girls programme started way back in 2012-13 when the West Suffolk Wolves was known as the County Upper Bulldogs . We can definitely say we’ve evolved a lot since then but without the originals, WSW today wouldn’t be the same. This photo shows County’s first ever U14 girls team which consists of some old County legends as well as that famous kit!
The first three seasons were challenging due to the harsh adjustment to the Nation League they had to face; it wasn’t until the season of 2016-2017 County started to compete. Winning the U14 East conference and gaining a place in the National Tournament this finally lead the girls to the Elite 8 stages for the first time, putting County Upper on the Map. After this, County Upper continued to compete with teams in the East, Central and London areas, which again made them champions Of the U16 South East Conference in 2018.
Over the years many West Suffolk Wolves players have regularly represented Suffolk, most notably in 2017 when 5 Wolves played, helping Suffolk U15’s win the East Region Inter-county Tournament for the first time in 10 years.
County girls have not only evolved locally and at a county level but have also represented teams regionally and nationally. Many of our players are annually selected for these teams and have done so for every age group. The first West Suffolk Wolves female to play at a regional level, was the young, year 6, Alex Popova, as she represented East in the U11 team at the National Regional Tournament, setting the standards way back in 2014! Grace Spooner the next year again played for the Under 11 East Region team in the National Regional Tournament. Popova and Spooner combined, played for 9 East Region teams during their U14 and U16 playing careers and went on to inspire other County athletes to follow in their footsteps! Grace Spooner’s talent also lead her to being selected for the Under 15 England Squad in May of 2019.
Echoing Alex Popova and Grace Spooner’s achievements, Kayleigh Brown, Lizzy Sanders and Jemima Kent began contributing to the Aspire programme too. Eventually, they too went on to play regionally representing the East of England at a variety of age groups.
During the 2017 – 2018, Lizzy Sanders was selected for the U15 England Squad eventually making the final cut for the official U15 England team. She represented England at the 2018 Copenhagen International Tournament, leaving English soil to play in Denmark. By becoming the first West Suffolk Wolves player to become an International player, it has showed county what they can achieve. The following year, Sanders was also selected for the 2019 U16 Great Britain trials.
As well as these pathways, WSW girls have also been noticed and selected to represent the ‘Select Team’ at The Battle In The Capital Tournament annually held over the Christmas Break. Jemima Kent, Grace Spooner and Lizzy Sanders have all competed.
Not to forget the up coming players of West Suffolk Wolves. Currently, Violet Jones, Polly Cailes, Flo Kent, Esther Cushing and Anna Cartwright are all members of our club that have been individually selected to play with the regional Aspire programme once a month. As well as Anna Cartwright representing the East of England at the regional tournament in 2019.
Coach Johnson said, “Like we set up our men’s team to allow current and future academy players become challenged and play in a tougher environment, we now want to do the same for our Girls. With our girls gaining NCAA D1 and NCAA D2 interest in America, as a club we have to look to offer a tougher playing environment so they can continue to develop as players, which is why adding a women’s team seemed necessary. I am sure D2 will be tough to start out but with the Caliber of players we have within the programme and the high level of coaching, County will hopefully find their feet and start to compete in the season.”
Most importantly, the first official girls America Tour took place last year in 2019. Annually, Coach Johnson takes both boys and girls academy teams to USA to experience playing overseas and to aide with potential scholarships in the future. The girls team competed with Iowa Central, Des Moines Area Community College and Marshalltown, which are all NJCAA D2 teams.
So why recap on all of our history? Not only have we come so far and need to share it, but sometimes looking back also helps you move forward. And West Suffolk Wolves do that as we introduce our first ever woman’s National League Division 2 team into the programme. So, as we take a trip down memory lane, we also look forward to what the future holds for the West Suffolk Wolves! If any players are interested in being a part of the women team or any girls team within this club please contact Coach Johnson on firstname.lastname@example.org