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Women's Football News
After a troubled summer in which the future existence of their club had been in serious doubt, Charlton Athletic will step on to a pitch to play their first competitive match of the new season on Sunday.
The Addicks had been granted extra time by the Premier League in order to solve their problems on and off the pitch and the season will begin for the new-look side when they take on current league leaders Bristol Academy.
Kimberley Dixson will be the player who leads Charlton on to the pitch and she told Women's Soccer Scene that everybody at Charlton is looking towards the future, and can't wait to start playing again. "The whole team is excited about Sunday," says Kimberley. "It's been a difficult summer but that is all behind us now."
The Charlton situation has overshadowed what was otherwise a memorable summer for Kimberley. "I was in Iceland when I found out as I had been playing there during the closed season," she says. "I also made my England under-23 debut during the Nordic Cup so things have been going well for me personally."
Now she is turning her attention to a new challenge but is happy that Charlton have started the season late. "If we had started with everyone else, we would have struggled," she admits. "The FA knew what we had been through and everyone at Charlton has worked hard to get things going.
"I had no doubts that I wanted to stay as I have been with the club since I was nine. It has always been my ambition to be captain and it's an absolute honour to do so - I will cherish every moment of it.
"There are three players remaining from last season, including myself, so it will be a fresh new start but things are looking up. We have a young team but there is no reason why we can't do well.
"Everyone in the women's game was shocked by what happened to us and it was a bit overwhelming. Now everyone is interested in how we will do - people are still saying we won't do well but that's their opinion.
"We have a couple of young players who might surprise a few teams. It is mostly a new intake, including a few from the Academy but the Centre of Excellence has stayed as it was. I am the manager of the Under-12s and we are unbeaten so far this season, which is encouraging, and the situation has brought everyone together at the club."
There has also been a change of management at the club with former Charlton Athletic player Paul Mortimer taking over. "Paul brings something different to last year," says Kimberley. "He has not been negative at all, in fact everything he has done and said is positive and the team spirit has been very important. It is the first time he has worked with women footballers and he is handling it very well."
Charlton face a tough opener against Bristol Academy this week but Kimberley is taking an optimistic view of the game. "The teams we want to get points off are those likely to be around us," she replies, "but Liverpool beat Bristol Academy recently so we know we will have a chance. It will be tough as they are a good side but we will be positive going into that match.
"It's looking a lot better for us than it did a while ago. People have worked really hard behind the scenes to keep the club going and the players have worked hard as well, and we can't wait to get started."
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