Brighton & Hove Albion elite women and girls’ football manager Tracy Doe believes the Women's Players’ Awards evening at the Amex was a huge success and highlighted the tremendous strides that have been made both on and off the pitch this season.
The club recognised the achievements of all players from the girls’ centre of excellence under-9s through to the senior first team and Doe was filled with pride to see such a large turnout on the night.
She told seagulls.co.uk, “I thought it was a very good event. The reason why it was so special was because we had every player that’s associated with the women and girls’ set-up attend, plus all of their friends and family.
“Those who attended were making very positive comments about the integration, because it’s very rare to have an opportunity to see the girls’ centre of excellence, girls’ academy and senior teams all together in one place.
“The evening was not just about recognising the players and the staff, but also the people that go above and beyond to volunteer their services. They have played a big part in the success of all our teams this season.
“We also felt it was important to recognise the loyalty of some of the diehard fans, who were guests on the night and who have followed the first team everywhere this season.”
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The club’s head of women’s football believes that these type of events will serve as an inspiration to the younger players in the set-up, with the belief that they too can make an impact in the first team one day.
“It was very aspirational for the young centre of excellence players to see the academy and senior players collect their awards. We had players aged between seven and 29 there on the night and the senior players were saying how great it was to see the talent we have coming through in the younger age groups.
“We have seen four youth-team players celebrate making their international debuts this season and I do believe that our youth set-up will go from strength-to-strength.”
Doe paid tribute to first-team manager James Marrs following an outstanding first season in charge and says preparations have already begun for next season.
“You have to give massive credit to James in his first season at the club. To bring together two separate set-ups at senior level is an exceptional feat, let alone to get us within touching distance of the Women’s Premier League Championship play-off.
“The biggest credit I can give to James is the quality of the football. It’s without doubt the best in the south of England and probably right across England. I have not seen anyone, whether they’re in the Super League or Premier League, play better football than us and the statistics justify that.
“This is the beginning of something very special, with the club's support and infrastructure we have in place. It is very exciting to see what the future holds."