It’s all change for Huddersfield Amateur Women ahead of the start of season 2023-24 with lots of new faces – and a major new sponsor.
New recruits to the squad include Hollie Richardson, Ann Seed and Ebony Connell, while Holly Coulson has become first team captain and Lucy Pollard will take the second team armband.
The new main sponsor is Tower Hill Dental, based in Sowerby Bridge.
The Ammers play in the First Division of the West Riding County Women’s Football League and they kick off the campaign on Sunday September 3 with a trip to Farsley Celtic (2.00).
Manager Richard Brearley said the team, based at Old Earth in Elland, had pressed the reset button ahead of the new season.
Several players moved on including highly-rated winger Becky Aykroyd, who went to Bradford City. Richard described the move as an “incredible achievement” for Becky and Huddersfield Amateurs alike.
“It was an opportunity simply too good to turn down,” he added.
Richard said the club didn’t just want to replace the players who left but increase the first and second team squads too.
“We have achieved this,” he said. “However, we haven’t stopped there and hope to welcome a few more players to training in the next week or so whilst still holding talks with a couple of players I would like to bring in to bolster the first team squad. Let’s see where we can take this.”
One key new arrival is Hollie Richardson (above left), who was a stand-out player for Leeds United when they beat the Ammers 4-1 a couple of seasons ago.
On her arrival at Old Earth, Hollie said: “I’m really pleased to have signed for Huddersfield Amateurs.
“After experiencing promotion several times with Leeds United, I know what it takes to be successful in this division. Richard has recruited well and I believe the current squad is strong enough to do well this year.
“Personally, I suffered with a string of injuries last season and had to undergo surgery but my ambition remains the same, to return to the Premier division.”
Another player who arrived in pre-season was Ann Seed (above, right). Having reached a high level Ann hadn’t played for 15 years. She’s impressed and made an instant impact at Old Earth.
Ann said: “I recently joined Huddersfield Amateurs having not played for over 15 years. Helping coach my son’s under-12 team reawakened my desire to play again and I have to say the Ammers have been so welcoming and supportive.
“They have a good set up at Old Earth with dedicated coaching staff and they’re a great bunch of girls to play football with.
“I am hoping that as well as getting back to full fitness and ability personally, we can progress and do well over the season as a team.”
Another new recruit Ebony Connell is already feeling at home and said: “After joining HAFC I felt so welcomed and part of a family.
“I have only been there a few months and played a few friendlies but I can see the coaches’ aims and direction for the club.
“I’m excited for this season, to excel and develop individually and as a team. And, most importantly, have a fun and enjoyable season.”
Skippering the first team will be newly-appointed captain Holly Coulson who said: “I am very proud to captain the first team for the coming season.
“We have a great set of girls who get on well, both on and off the pitch and this only helps our performance. This year our aim is ensure we are at our best, no matter who the opponent.
“I really feel this could be a very rewarding season for the first team and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Lucy Pollard has been awarded the second team armband after impressing last term with first class performances and an exceptional attitude.
Lucy said: “It’s an honour to captain the second team for the season ahead. Last season we came on massively, building and bonding as a team.
“We go into this season feeling positive and ready to make more progress than we ever have. We have everything we need to have a rewarding and enjoyable year.”
Rachel Dilley, of Tower Hill Dental, with HAFC manager Richard Brearley
On recruitment, Richard added: “We have attracted a good blend and if the commitment, will to play and drive is there, anything is possible.
“The popularity of the women’s game is on the increase, the pool of players is getting bigger, however with a large number of new teams emerging it has become apparent the pool is getting shallower also.
“We need to be the best version of ourselves to ensure we continue to build and progress. I take a keen interest in how other teams conduct themselves and how they implement their development plans.
“One club that impresses more than most is Lower Hopton. They are a great group and have achieved so much in their relatively short history.
“It is evident they have first class support from their club which has helped give them a spring up the leagues with their firsts and build an extremely competitive development team.
“While we have been in existence half the time they have, this is the template we would like to emulate, while ensuring we keep our own identity and implement other ideas to create a fun environment for all.”
Richard said pre-season had brought mixed fortunes but added: “We will build and progress. We will learn on the job. It will take time to get where we need to be but we will get there.”
Talks concluded this week with new sponsor Tower Hill Dental, which has taken a great interest in the club’s plans for the future.
Richard said: “I am thrilled with the partnership. Community is of paramount importance to us. It is evident that Tower Hill hold the same values as ourselves.
“Women’s football is on the rise at all levels, and rightly so. It is reassuring to know there are people out there that believe in what we are doing.
“It is encouraging to see businesses like Tower Hill taking an active interest in us. It is up to us now to repay their kindness.”
Other businesses that will be supporting the Ammers this season are: Back2Basics boxing gym, SY Teamwear, The Peacock, Burnley Road, Halifax, and Sam Teale Productions.
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