Academy continue to build squad ahead of new league
BRISTOL Academy have increased their professional contingent to four as they continue to prepare for life in the FA Super League next year – and say they are on the look-out for more to come.
Having already recruited former England duo Corinne Yorston and Ann-Marie Heatherson, they have now lured ex-England keeper Siobhan Chamberlain back to the club.
And they have also handed a contract to highly-rated 21-year-old central defender Grace McCatty, who has skippered the Academy side in recent seasons.
All four have already started work helping to promote the club in the local community before training begins next month, with the league kicking off in April.
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Manager Mark Sampson said: "Bringing Siobhan, Corinne and Anne-Marie to the club means we have signed key players through the spine of our team.
"Siobhan is the best goalkeeper in the league and with Corinne and Annie we have two proven players at the highest level over the last eight years."
Chamberlain was previously with Bristol between 2005-07, having had previous spells with Chelsea and Arsenal. She then rejoined Chelsea before moving to Canada's Vancouver Whitecaps in May.
The club have also appointed a new director of football in Pete Amos. Formerly assistant Academy director at Ashton Gete, he took over as manager of Bristol City's now-defunct women's team in 2004 and also had a spell as boss of Weston-super-Mare men's side.
"We were keen to appoint an experienced coach to work with the team and with Pete now on board, we have the structure we have been striving for," added Sampson.
Bristol Ladies Union made it two wins on the trot in the Premier Division of the SW Women's League with a 3-0 win over Stoke Lane in a feisty derby. Frankie Stone set up the first when her dangerous cross was turned into her own net by a Stoke Lane defender, then scored a goal in each half to secure victory. Stoke Lane competed well but the closest they came to a goal was rattling the bar.
On Sunday, BLU visit Oldland Abbotonians, who ensured their passage to the second round of the Gloucestershire FA Challenge Cup with a 2-1 win at Cheltenham Spa thanks to goals from Sarah Price and Jess Cole.
"The score didn't really reflect the game because we could have won by a lot more," said Oldland's assistant boss Steve Lavis.
"We had a lot of younger girls playing, including ones who have mainly been on the bench this season, as well as some in different positions.
"We wanted to use the game to have a look at a few things and we played well, although we lacked a bit of punch up front."
Downend Flyers also progressed with a 4-2 win over AEK Boco – Katie Michael scored a hat-trick and Danielle Pearson also netted – while Southmead CS picked up their first win of the season with a 7-3 triumph against Mitcheldean, despite going a goal down.
Alyta Norman put them back on level terms then Louise Robbins and Chloe Williams both scored hat-tricks to put the tie out of reach.