After reaching two cup finals, one of which against Women’s Super League side Brighton & Hove Albion, Crawley Wasps can reflect on a phenomenal season. Additionally, the side finished third in the London & South East Women’s Football League; Leyton Orient claimed top spot and London Corinthians finished in second place, still eight points behind the winners. Impressively, the Wasps only lost three of their eighteen games, drawing another three and winning twelve. The side’s success has driven the team forward as they look to pursue an even greater goal next season: the title.
Recently, Paul Walker spoke to BOTN about the club’s aims for next season:
“Two years ago, as first team manager, I set the long term ambition for Crawley Wasps to become a Women’s Premier League team. Playing one level below the WPL, we would need to secure one promotion. Achieving that level is a massive prize for clubs. I saw that as a number one ambition for our ladies’ first team. About five years ago we came very close to that (we finished third in our league).
The first season I took over, we didn’t have the squad to achieve that and our performances reflected that. This season, we strengthened the squad considerably and it has become stronger throughout the year. We reached two cup finals and finished third. If our squad had been as strong as it was at the end of the season, we could have possibly done even better.
Next year, our aim is to absolutely win the league and secure promotion. With the current plan and strength of our squad, I believe that that could be the destiny for this season.”
Great ambition, however, invites great competition. For example, London Corinthians finished second in the league and have performed consistently in the past few years. Furthermore, the side announced that they will be joining Kent Football United next season, which will give them access to more players. Paul Walker expects the side to be a “strong team” as they have always finished high in the table.
The manager also picked out Carshalton Athletic as an impressive team, commenting that they were “going from strength to strength”. The side were incredibly strong three years ago, but lost several players to the WPL and WSL due to their catchment area; many high level clubs were in a similar location. Fulham could also be a threat next season, as they have received support from the men’s side (such as giving them access to their training ground and facilities). Nevertheless, Paul Walker expects his “squad to be stronger than any of those teams” and will go into next season with confidence.
The manager plans to improve his squad even further, stating:
“I am expecting to retain most of the squad for next season. We are losing our first team goalkeeper, Marie Gillstroém, who is returning to Australia. We’re actively recruiting in that area and we’re also looking to strengthen our squad in other areas. The competition is always very healthy- it’s a very competitive, high performing squad.”
Crawley Wasps are holding open trials on Wednesday 28th June, Monday 2nd July and Wednesday 5th July at the side’s home. For the first team, the club are looking for players with experience, playing at Women’s Premier League level. For the reserve team, the side are looking for established players that have a strong potential to play at a high level of regional football. The new Sussex Ladies team will be formed from the previous U16s; the side are looking for talented 16-18 year olds who, in the future, could be Crawley Wasps first team players. Read the information below if you are interested, or know someone that would be interested, in taking part.