Southampton Football Club have announced that their Women’s team will turn full-time ahead of 2022-23 season.
This announcement comes just days after Southampton beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Women’s Premier Division Play-Off Final to secure promotion to the FA Women’s Championship, as Sophia Pharoah netted a 21st minute winner.
Southampton had won the Southern Division title by nine points ahead of Oxford United, whilst Wolves were the Northern Division champions ahead of Derby County by eight points
In a statement announcing the decision to convert the Women’s team into a full-time outfit, Southampton said: “In order to be best placed for the challenge ahead, the club have made the decision to alter the status of the Women’s programme from part-time to full-time.
The full-time model will see multi-disciplinary support at Staplewood Campus for the programme, including access to all facilities and expertise.”
Southampton’s Head of Girls and Women’s Football and first-team manager, Marieanne Spacey-Cale welcomed this development as “exciting” for the club’s future.
Anticipating the tougher Championship opposition and need for more time with the playing squad, Spacey-Cale continued: “We are aware of the challenge moving into the Championship will bring on the pitch, so having quality time with the squad based at Staplewood will support this transition and give us a good chance to settle into the league.”
Spacey-Cale also paid tribute to the Club for their support behind this move as she concluded: “The Club are extremely supportive of this transition into full-time and have been all in getting the application process and the detail right to ensure this can happen for season 2022-23 in the Women’s Championship.”
Southampton’s Director of Football Operations, Matt Crocker echoed Spacey-Cale’s thoughts on the decision to go from part-time to full-time as “exciting” following a successful season.
Explaining the need to ensure that the Saints’ Women’s team are prepared for the second-tier, Crocker stated that this move will see the club “fully integrated” with both Men and Women’s teams based at Staplewood and supports “ambitious plans” for success and development.
Crocker also praised club staff for their commitment in delivering “time and effort into getting the application process over the line and ensuring the next step for our Women’s team is given the best chance possible of being a success.”