(Reuters) – Southampton will spend around one million pounds a year to develop their women’s teams in a bid to reach the top-tier FA Women’s Super League, the club’s managing director Toby Steele has said.
The south coast club play in the fifth-tier South Region Women’s Football League but are hopeful that their investment and the guidance of women’s soccer head Marieanne Spacey-Cale can help them achieve that target.
“This is our second season of running the women’s first team in a regional league with hopes to climb up to the Women’s Super League within a few years so we have made significant investment in that,” Steele told the Southern Daily Echo.
“All told and taking our regional talent club, which is youth development and the first team, we’re investing about 1 million pounds into that part of the club.
“We see it as a good development for us, good engagement for the fans and opening ourselves up to new fans and we’re enjoying seeing the performance of those teams adding to the club.”
Former England international Spacey-Cale left her position with the Football Association as player and coach developer last year to be involved in Southampton’s project.
The club has also invested in physiotherapists and coaches as they look to mirror everything that is offered to the men’s team, who are 17th in the Premier League.
“It is a significant investment, but we don’t want to do it half-hearted,” Steele said.
“We want to put the investment in now so we hopefully have a smoother ride into the Super League in time.
“It’s absolutely embedded in the club so everybody involved in the women’s team works within the offices at (the club’s training ground at) Staplewood, has access to the same facilities, they’re training there as well.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by)