West Ham United women return for pre-season training
West Ham United women’s players took to the training pitches for the first time in almost four months as they began pre-season training ahead of the 2020/21 Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign.
With the return to training for elite athletes in the women’s game in Phase One, as recommended by the government guidelines in the battle against the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the women’s team returned for pre-season in small groups of individuals while adhering to the government social distancing advice.
The likes of captain Gilly Flaherty, 2019/20 Hammer of the Year Kate Longhurst, Grace Fisk, Martha Thomas, Leanne Kiernan and Laura Vetterlein all participated in the first day of pre-season at the team’s new base at the Academy of Football, Chadwell Heath, on Tuesday.
The groups of first-team players were also joined by a small group of youngsters from the West Ham United women’s Academy development pathway.
Players returning from overseas, who are following the government protocol on quarantine after international travel, will return to begin pre-season with their teammates in the coming week.
The Club, its medical and operations team have implemented strict safety measures to ensure the wellbeing of all personnel, including health screenings, temperature checks, and players and staff arriving and departing from Chadwell Heath in their own kit.
With the safety of players and staff critical as the women’s team begin preparations for the 2020/21 campaign, women’s head of medical Elena Jobson explained the protocols the Club have put in place.
“For the start of pre-season we have been operating within the detailed protocols provided by the FA,” Jobson said. “We are currently in Phase One, which means we have to do seven days of small-group, socially distanced training. We are permitted up to five players in each group, supported by three coaches and medical team. Each of these people then has to maintain social distancing, as stipulated within the government guidelines.
“Away from the pitch, a lot of our work has been around keeping our team safe and sanitised. Everyone is coming into Chadwell Heath in their training kit and not using the facilities.
“We are also undergoing COVID-19 testing twice a week, alongside mitigating as much risk as we can and following the procedures that everyone has heard about over the last four months, such as washing hands, no hugs and no handshakes, to ensure the safety of all of our players and staff as we start work for the new season.”
Our photographer was on hand to focus on the small-grouped sessions on the first day of West Ham United women’s pre-season training, and you can view these images in the gallery at the top of the page!