Ahead of the new 2019 season, we’ll catch-up with every single Scottish Building Society SWPL team. From new Head Coaches, new signings, and new aspirations, it’s set to be another exciting campaign. We spoke to Dundee United Head Coach, Gavin Beith.
How are excited are you for the 2019 season?: The start of any season is always exciting but this one even more so with it being the clubs first experience of SWPL 2 football. We are all looking forward to the season starting in February.
What are your aims and ambitions for the new season?: It’s an old cliché but our ambition is ‘to be the best we can be’. If every official, coach and player applies themselves properly and commits to the task in hand and gives it everything they have we will fulfil our ambitions. It’s easy to set ambitions but not so easy to achieve them, we as a group know that the daily, weekly, monthly processes that are in place are key to achieving our goals. Committing to these processes and applying the hard work required is the challenge for all of us.
Based on the other teams in the league, do you think this will be the most competitive season ever?: It certainly will be our most competitive season ever. It’s a big step up for the players but one that they have worked really hard to achieve. Their reward is they now get to test themselves on a weekly basis against quality opposition. Every game will be a huge but enjoyable challenge.
With the new season around a month away, how have preparations been so far?: Our preparations have went really well so far. We continued to train from the end of last season and have now started to up the intensity to ensure we are ready to go come February. The attitude and work rate from the players has been outstanding.
Do you have plans to/have you had much change to the squad? What impact could this have on your season?: I’m sure every coach in the league has actively been looking to improve their squad. It’s not an easy thing to do with competition for players being fierce in this area. The vast majority of last year’s squad have resigned, that includes two players who only played the last few games of the season so they’re effectively new additions. On top of that I have added Jenna Penman from Westdyke and hope to have another two or three in before the season starts.
For perhaps new fans of the women’s game, who are some players in your squad they should look out for ?: I think it’s unfair to name individuals as we are all in this together. All our players have a starring role to play throughout the season. In every game one player’s great day may be another’s bad day, it’s important we stick together and help each other every week. What I would say to any new fans of the women’s game is come and watch and decide who you think the stars are within our team.
As well, are there any new/younger players we may see more of in 2019?: We have a very good blend of youth and experienced players within our squad. Last season we had several youngsters who experienced women’s football for the first time and did exceptionally well. We have AJ Meach, Rachel Robbie, Philippa McCallum, Neve Guthrie and Jenna Penman all aged 17 or younger. Next season will be a great experience and challenge for all of them but one I’m sure they will take in their stride.
You start the new season playing St Johnstone, what do you make of that fixture?: Starting the new season with a local derby against St Johnstone is fantastic. It will be the first time we have played each other which adds to the occasion. St Johnstone have a very good squad and have performed extremely well at this level the last couple of seasons. It’s a great opening test for us which we are all looking forward too.
How important do you think it will be to get off to a good start?: It’s hugely important not only for us but every other team in the league. Momentum is a big thing in football and can take you to another level when it gets behind you. Like anything in football and life you have to earn it, we know we will have to work extremely hard and perform well to achieve the start we would like. Each player will be well aware of their individual responsibilities and milestones that we hope they can achieve which in turn will help us collectively as a group.
Given how big 2019 is for Scottish Women’s Football as a whole, how excited are you to be involved?: I’m extremely excited to be involved in Women’s football, especially this year with the World Cup taking place. I’m well aware of the hard work that goes into raising standards and increasing participation within the women’s game. It’s great to play a very small part in adding to the game and something I’m thankful I have the opportunity to do every week.
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come and support your team this season?: Every player in the country deserves all the support they can possibly get. They turn up week in, week out, and give their all to play the game they love. From a DUWFC point of view I believe we have a fantastic group of players who have great desire to improve and perform to the best of their abilities. Having more people supporting the team on a Sunday is huge for the players and will help them immensely.