Huddersfield Town Women: Strong Values & Development Pathways

Ben Gilby spoke to Huddersfield Town Women manager Jordan Wimpenny about his club who play in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier.

Jordan Wimpenny makes it very clear how proud he is to be associated with Huddersfield Town Women and the fact they are in a strong position in the third tier of the game in England. The fact that they have done it with a clear, shared strategy is the cherry on the cake.

“We have progressed massively as a club over the years and have grown to give female athletes opportunities to fulfil a pathway in football. As a club, we pride ourselves on a particular set of values that we carry out all the way through the club and the club’s development are down to those committed hardworking people who make it all happen.”

Above: Sarah Danby (left) and Brittany Sanderson (right) start the celebrations for Huddersfield Town with Kate Mallin and Laura Elford racing to join in. Photo: Jess Hornby via Huddersfield Town Women AFC.

Huddersfield Town started the season on fire and stand three points clear at the top of the National League Northern Premier with six wins from eight games before the second lockdown struck, which was frustrating. “Lockdown is always a difficult time for anyone especially when you lose contact from training and competing in fixtures weekly, however it is something we have experienced with the first lock down and are able to stay connected as a group. We know that this is hugely important with the return to matches now starting in which we want to continue with our strong start. It hasn’t had a direct impact on the club but like anything the players just want to be out on the pitch”, Jordan says.

Long term there will be a knock on impact. The Terriers’ manager identified the club’s biggest challenge at the moment as “Being able to adapt to the new normality with training and games. It’s a new means of conducting our work. However we have a very strong group of people who are the driving force behind the club and so we are in a good place to fulfil our goals and objectives for this year.”

In terms of the division that Huddersfield are presently top of, Wimpenny recognises what a big battle his side have on their hands to remain at its summit: “The league is a tough one for any side. The FAWNL Northern Premier is a competitive league with experienced players and staff who have been around the game for several years proving no game is easy. It also provides a good solid platform for up and coming players who wish to find their feet and learn their trade to be able to progress to the next level which would be Championship football.”

Above: Serena Fletcher on the ball for Huddersfield Town against West Bromwich Albion. Photo: Jess Hornby via Huddersfield Town Women AFC.

Jordan then identified the difference between his side’s present division and the Championship which lies immediately above it, which if Huddersfield’s form continues, could be their destination for next season: “The jump is quite a significant one in terms of the operation, expectations and requirements for such league. This is something we will prepare for if, as a club, we need to. Our main focus is to stay in a position of winning each game as it comes and get ahead of those other teams who surround us.”

The club have a detailed pathway for young girls to start playing for Huddersfield Town at a young age and potentially go all the way through the system to play in the National League system. “We have community projects with the Huddersfield Town Foundation, Wildcats sessions for girls aged as young as five, the our junior sides, a female football academy at Calderdale College, our U18s, Development Squad and then the first team.”

There is no doubt that Huddersfield Town Women are a well organised and well run club. Wimpenny is clear that the reason for that is their incredible band of volunteers: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank and credit all the staff who are involved in the club, without the people involved we couldn’t achieve the things we set out to achieve and all work above and beyond for the players through their commitment and desire to succeed. I would like to especially highlight Alison Bamforth who took on the role as our COVID-19 officer and has been exceptional in ensuring we can still operate as a club and deserves great credit for her work. From a personal point of view, I would like to credit the players for their continued patience and hard work each week to apply themselves to their work and due to this have given themselves a positive start to the season in which we will look to continue.”

Above: Laura Elford in action for Huddersfield Town. Photo: Jess Hornby via Huddersfield Town Women AFC.

In terms of the future of the sport both generally and at Huddersfield Town, Jordan Wimpenny sees bags of potential: “The women’s game is ever growing and each year will continue to grow. As a club, we will aim to be a part of that growth. We will look to fulfil the potential of the club and it starts for us on the pitch. There are plans in place for the women’s game and with the support the game is having it will only develop for the better providing more and more opportunities for female athletes to be involved in football and reach their potential with the pathways and opportunities that are being created, an exciting period for any club or player who is involved.”

Keep a close eye on Huddersfield Town’s progress, this is a club with an impressively well organised player pathway which is bringing through some exceptionally talented players who could well be about to lift their side into the Championship.

Above: Huddersfield Town Women AFC – forward thinking and aiming for the Championship. Photo: Jess Hornby via Huddersfield Town Women AFC.

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