WaiBOP starts its 2013 ASB Women’s League campaign this weekend after an intensive preparation of training, trials and a couple of warm-up games.
The team heads to Palmerston North’s Memorial Ground where they’ll face Central on Sunday (kick off 1.30pm) in round 1 of this year’s competition.
Coaches Simon Mead and Ian Heath have assembled a 24-strong WaiBOP squad that contains some of the league’s most experienced players, some exciting new faces and a few youth players who will benefit from their involvement at this level.
Almost half the squad comes from Northern Premier League runners-up Claudelands Rovers, including New Zealand striker Helen Collins who is also assisting with coaching after returning from international duty.
To bolster the squad, the coaches ran an extensive trials programme so they could evaluate more than 60 players, meaning competition for places was stronger than in the past.
The process also identified new squad members from competitions outside of the Northern Premier League – players such as Rotorua United’s Alice Bennett, Whakatane Town’s Susi Peterson and Waikato A Division Player of the Year Kerri Gerrits, from Hamilton North.
Two weeks ago, the prospective squad played a Waikato/Bay of Plenty All Stars line-up, winning 6-1 at Cambridge, with goals from Alex Shadbolt, Chelsea Elliott (2 incl. a penalty), Susi Peterson, Jackie Pretswell and Kat Robinson.
Last weekend, the side beat a New Zealand U17 squad 2-1 at North Harbour Stadium, with goals from Elliott and Gerrits.