Changes at the top for ambitious Golden Girls as Rowson and Kemp take the reins
It is all change at Watford Ladies FC ahead of the new FA Women's Super League 2 campaign, with Katie Rowson taking over as head coach and Ellie Kemp coming in as general manager and marketing officer.
Kemp, whose background blends together supporter services, ticketing, sponsorship and project management, takes over the position vacated by John Salomon at the end of last season.
“Watford Ladies have worked their way up the football pyramid system and have shown tremendous development over seven seasons,” Kemp said.
“I was keen to join a progressive and dynamic club and Watford Ladies certainly fits that bill.”
With the new season fast approaching, the attention on the Lady Hornets will be ramped up, both on and off the pitch.
Despite having only recently started in the role, Kemp has a good idea of what she wants moving forward.
“The vision is for the club to be as competitive on the pitch and to be as professional and forward thinking off the pitch. Ultimately the end goal has to be promotion into the WSL 1,” she explained.
“I believe I can build on the foundations laid by John Salomon. The girls possess the right attitude, they want to play for one another and that for me makes for a great starting point.
“Watford Football Club has taken the ladies’ team under its umbrella and this signifies both the ambition and belief everyone at Vicarage Road has for our future.”
Ellie’s first game involved with the club will be this weekend, as Watford take on Millwall Lionesses in the FA Women’s Cup.
With plenty of work to do prior to the match, the new arrival is full of praise for the help she’s received from others at the club.
Kemp added: “We have an army of volunteers who have been at the heart of everything we have achieved to date, so with their support I’m really excited by the challenge and can’t wait to get the ball rolling.”
With the news that Watford Football Club has taken the ladies’ team under its umbrella, Watford FC CEO Scott Duxbury said: “We want Watford Ladies FC to offer a pathway for talented local female footballers into top-level women’s football.
“Watford FC wishes the club every success for the forthcoming season and, in partnership with our Community Trust, will offer the fullest possible support to the set-up.”
Meanwhile, prior to taking the new role, Rowson had been coaching since 2013 in the British Virgin Islands and was the technical director for the past 12 months.
“I am delighted to join a fantastic club, with such great prospects and a great vision for the future,” Rowson said.
“It has been a quick transition, I only landed back in the country on Friday from working abroad; so I am happy to hit the ground running!”
The new head coach takes over a squad that has plenty of talent and potential within the ranks.
Rowson is looking forward to getting to know the players, saying: “I am excited to get onto the training pitch and want to get to know the players as soon as possible,” she explained. “I am looking forward to working with them during our preparation for the season.
“I need to complete player appraisals immediately but I believe that it is important to have experienced players within the squad so our recruitment plan is under way.”
A plethora of injuries meant that at times, the 2015 season was a challenging one on the pitch. Looking ahead to the upcoming campaign, what would be classed as a success for Rowson?
“Success will be based on how well we have implemented our vision and philosophy on and off the field,” she says. “Our seasonal goal is to be a competitive team with great work ethic.”