“I wanted to create a challenging environment” says Reading boss Kelly Chambers
Kelly Chambers looks forward to Reading's upcoming WSL season
29 August 2022
Reading boss, Kelly Chambers spoke glowingly of her new signings and the ‘challenging environment’ that she wanted to create as the Royals are now only just over a week away from getting their 2022/23 WSL season underway.
Looking to build on an eighth place finish last season it was vital the club strengthened in the market. Chambers has certainly made good here and brought in six new faces.
American defender, Brooke Hendrix was first through the door back in July, along with fellow defender, Becky Jane. Goalkeeper, Jacqueline Burns, midfielders, Lauren Wade and Diane Caldwell and forward Charlie Wellings have all since joined.
Chambers chuckled and mustered “I’m done”, with regard to any more potential signings for her side. “I haven’t had a big turnover of players this season," said the Royals manager referring to the clubs single outgoing, Chloe Peplow, going on loan to Women’s Championship side Crystal Palace.
“They’ve really fit into the group like they’ve all been here for a while if I’m honest”, beamed Chambers who is now heading into her seventh year of management with the Berkshire outfit after being appointed back in 2015.
Chambers is under no illusion the size of the challenge that Reading face this season with the signings and the budgets all across the WSL growing ever larger.
“First and foremost, we want to stay in this league, we are the only Championship club in the league and we know it’s going to be a challenge year on year competing with the budgets other sides have got, but we also want to finish higher than we placed last year”.
Reading kick off their season against newly promoted Liverpool on September 11th at the Select Car Leasing Stadium and the anticipated crowd is set to be a record for the team.
“Off the back of the Euros, everyone is so excited to have the season to start. The work that’s been put in behind the scenes to make it a record attendance has been phenomenal and we are so excited to open the season at home and step out in-front of our fans.”
The success of the Lionesses at the European Championships this year is certainly being felt across the game with Chambers adding, “we want it to grow, we want these pressure that comes with it, we’re going to see a jump now off the back of the Euro’s but for us, it’s the enjoyment of people coming to watch the team in person and it’s up to us to keep the crowds coming.”
An integral member of the national side is former Reading star Fran Kirby, who, after signing for the club at the age of seven played 42 times across three years. Kirby is at the forefront of the Reading Player Pathway, which for both the Men’s and Women’s sides, has a history of producing talented footballers.
Chambers revealed she text Kirby the words ‘dreams do come true’ after Kirby's selection for, and subsequent performance in, the Euro’s. A dream of both Kirby's and her late mother.
The player pathway has brought several talented players into the first team set up, such as Tia Primmer, Emma Harries and Bethan Roberts in recent years, with fellow academy graduate and goalkeeper, Grace Moloney clocking up over 200 appearances for the club.
The Royals will be making use of the player pathway again this season with Chambers confirming that Maddie Perry and Freya Tuson-Meadows will be part of the first team squad for the forthcoming season.
It’s clear to see that both manager and club are aligned in their vision, with Chambers signing off “now I’ve got the squad to have challenges, first and foremost we want to build on last season and see how far we can go”.