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Club News

Welcoming Sheffield United Ladies

17 September 2016

Sheffield United is delighted to announce a partnership with a burgeoning and well-established Ladies team.

It is the first time the Blades have a senior team playing in the national women's league structure.

The paperwork confirming the association between Sheffield United Community Ladies and the Blades was finalised this week.

The female arm of the club will now be known as Sheffield United Ladies, dropping the community tag, to enhance the links with the Blades.

Co-owner Kevin McCabe, who has been instrumental in bringing the ladies team 'in-house', commented: "I think all supporters will appreciate this is the first time that the Blades will have had a Senior Ladies team playing in the Women's Leagues, following on from a successful 15-year period establishing one of England's best Girls' Centre of Excellence, producing England players in the process such as Hannah Cain and Millie Bright.

"The partnership is a significant step forward for women's football in the Sheffield region and of major importance to Sheffield United as we seek not only to develop young players but see them going to achieve honours representing the Blades. We are providing a real and meaningful pathway for our Bladettes to progress into senior football.

"Many of the girls from the current squad, coaches and management are here today for the Peterborough game and we will be introducing them all to our fans," added Kevin.

To mark the new partnership, members of Sheffield United Ladies, including manager Dan O'Hearne and club captain Rachel Ruddach, will be guests at today's fixture.

Sheffield United Ladies secretary, Tony Santoro, who has been involved with the Community ladies and girls since 2003, said: "I have been working tireless for a number of years to get the union of the ladies to be linked to men's Sheffield United FC.

"Now that day has come I find myself feeling very humble and a deep pride that we can build a very strong winning professional ladies team to reach the Women's Super League to compliment the men's team in being successful.

"My emotions came to the fore when all our teams (about 140 girls and ladies) from U9s to U18s as well as our reserves and first team had their photos taken at Bramall Lane earlier this month. I admit I had a few tears in my eyes watching all the happy faces. Rosa Neary, our first team captain, went down on all fours in the centre circle and kissed the hollowed turf.

"All the ladies put on their shirts now with so much more pride knowing that they are actually representing Sheffield United. They are on cloud nine. Rachael Ruddach, who has been at the club for 14 years, is still pinching herself and said the new era is so surreal.

"I look forward to the future with great optimism," added Tony.

Sheffield United Ladies have a senior team playing in the East Midlands Regional League - just three tiers from the top rung of the women's football. There's also a development team and a girls section with teams operating from U9s to U18s.

The senior ladies team play their home fixtures at Swallownest Miners Welfare and admission to watch their progress is free.

Tony added: "On a Sunday afternoon, Unitedites are more than welcome to come and support the Ladies. There's been a major rise in the popularity of the sport since England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2015 and at Swallownest you will see some top local players giving their all in a red and white shirt."

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