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Haverhill Rovers Ladies appoint new head coach Joe White and new goalkeeper Chelsea White as men win opening pre-season encounter

Haverhill Rovers Ladies have appointed a new head coach in Joe White, to ‘take the team to the next level’ having been promoted to the Cambridgeshire Women’s League top flight in their first season.

They did that without a first team manager for the majority of the 2018/19 season, with player-assistant Kayleigh Steed stepping up from October.

And, while that bodes well for their chances of consolidating their position in the S-Tech Women’s Premiership Division, the addition of a dedicated head coach will ‘add even more to our abilities’.

Steed said: “It’s great to get him in to pick the pieces up a little bit and put it all together. He’s got plenty of experience (including his UEFA B coaching badge) and comes to us from Cambridge United.

“We’re already learning lots and it’s been a breath of fresh air with new ideas and ways of looking at things, it’s time to push on and Joe can help us to do that.

“It’s going to be a tough year for us with it being our first season at this level, and we know we’re going to be taking on some very good sides.

“But they’re expanding the league to 13 teams this season apparently, rather than six, which is exciting as well.

“Last season we played each team three times so it will be nice to be facing more teams per season, it keeps it more interesting.”

White also becomes joint-manager, alongside Steed. The team will kick off their pre-season fixture list on Sunday (2pm), at home to Royston Ladies Development team, who compete in Division Two of the Beds and Herts Women’s Football League.

She confirmed that last season’s top striker Joely Kirby has remained at the club for the new season where she will be joined by new goalkeeper Chelsea White.

White, who has played for both Cambridge City and United, will replace Ellie Hope between the sticks, after the latter decided to hang up her boots and help out as a goalkeeper coach.

The two Whites, a husband and wife duo, bring experience and technical knowledge that Steed thinks will be invaluable to the side.

“I think everyone is feeling much more relaxed and settled anyway after our first season, but Joe and Chelsea are massive additions to the side,” she said.

“It was a blow to us when Ellie made her decision, finding a replacement so soon just gives us one less thing to worry about.”

* ProStrike events have been revealed as the new sponsors for the Ladies team.

* Charlotte Westrope is the Ladies first signing of the off-season, returning to a club nine years after coming through their youth system.

* The Ladies Development team will enter the Cambs Women’s League, going into the S-Tech Championship South, the division their first team won promotion from last season.

* Meanwhile, the men’s team played their first pre-season encounter on Saturday, beating higher-league team Hertford Town (Isthmian League South Central Division) 3-2.

Manager Fergus O’Callaghan said it was a ‘good competitive outing for both sides’ and a ‘good start for the young squad’.

Rovers were due to host UEA last night in their second pre-season outing before a double header on Saturday, first hosting Saffron Walden (3pm) before a New Croft derby match against neighbours Haverhill Borough on the 3G (4.30pm).

They will then play host once more on Tuesday evening to Ipswich Wanderers (8pm).

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