Matt Beard: It’s great to be back for pre-season training
For West Ham United women’s head coach Matt Beard, just the chance to be back on the training pitches with his team again was a joy.
Beard took the first handful of groups for the first day of pre-season training on Tuesday at the women’s new training base at Chadwell Heath, as the team began preparations for the 2020/21 Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.
Tuesday’s session marked the first time since March that Beard and his backroom staff have had the opportunity to work with the squad, something the head coach was thrilled to do as they took to the grass.
“I’m delighted to be back,” Beard told whufc.com. “It’s just good to see all the girls and the team again. Of course, I’ve not seen everyone yet and I won’t get to see everyone until we are all in back in training, but it will be brilliant when we’ve got everyone back in.
“All of the girls have worked incredibly hard over the last four months, and Colm (Smith, Strength and Conditioning Coach) has worked them really hard to get them prepared for their return. I’ve been pleased with the start. It’s just great to be back on the grass again.”
The women’s team are currently operating under Phase One regulations upon their return to training, meaning the squad must only work in up to groups of five while maintaining social distancing.
While Beard is looking forward to a return to normal pre-season training in the future, the head coach knows that utilising the phase system will help to ensure the health and safety of both his squad and staff.
We’ve got a great set-up here. We have a great bunch of people on and off the pitch and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work and getting into the new season.
“I think the phases are the right thing to do because it gives both the players and the staff the confidence to come back into the work environment,” he continued. “The phases get us back on the pitch and back enjoying each other’s company.
“It gives us the confidence to know we are doing the right things and taking the right precautions to make sure everyone stays healthy. It’s going to be a different process, but it is something we’ve got to stay on top of. We need to keep doing the right things and I’m sure we will continue to have clear tests and get everyone back in.
“I really want to praise the Club because West Ham has been absolutely fantastic during this whole pandemic in terms of putting the wellbeing of every single person at the Club ahead of everything else. That’s been right across the board too, from the football staff to those people behind the scenes.”
As West Ham begin preparations for the 2020/21 campaign, the Irons will be entering their third year as a professional outfit, and Beard is looking forward to what the team can achieve in the coming season.
With a move to the team’s new training base at Chadwell Heath confirmed, and with five first-team players putting pen-to-paper on new contracts, Beard believes his team have the ingredients needed to push on in the 2020/21 campaign.
“The third year, if you look at the processes we’ve been through in the previous two years, this is a big year,” Beard added. “You look at the facilities we’ve got access to now at Chadwell Heath, and the core part of the squad that we’ve secured on new contracts. We’ve got players now that understand this league.
“We’ve just got to improve the depth and the competition. That will give us the ability then to push on and challenge those top teams. We’ve got a great set-up here. We have a great bunch of people on and off the pitch and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work and getting into the new season.”