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Women's Football News
Reading will be playing in the National Division next season after sealing promotion from the Southern Division - and they can't wait to get started.
Natasha Caswell scored the promotion clinching goal against West Ham on Sunday and, following their midweek match with Keynsham Town, she summed up the mood of the squad for Women's Soccer Scene. "Our objective for the season has been achieved," she smiled. "We lost the last game but it won't dampen our mood. We're just delighted at the club - we've achieved what we wanted and we couldn't be happier.
After a four-way battle for second place behind Champions Barnet, Reading eventually emerged as the team who clinched the runners-up spot but Natasha admitted that it had been a tough race. "It has never been an easy run for us and it could have gone to the wire," she said, "but fortunately we'd done enough during the season to put us in a position where (the last game) didn't matter.
"I think as a squad in general, we've been magnificent - we've had the help of our Centre of Excellence and the girls coming through from there so we have now got a nice blend of youth and experience. Next season we'll be looking to add players, and we will attract players now, so we're looking forward to building on what we've already got at the club and aim even higher."
Reading now find themselves with the challenge of playing at the highest level but one aspect of playing in the National Division will not daunt them. "There will be a lot of travelling involved for us, but we've experienced that before," says Natasha. "We played a year in the Northern Division last season, so we're fully aware of what is ahead. We've played the likes of Sunderland and Millwall before so we will prepare properly and give ourselves the best chance to succeed in the division above."
"It's something you always want to do, to play the best teams in England," added youngster Natalie Barnes. "We've got a lot of hard work to do in pre-season but we're all really looking forward to it."
Royals defender Amy Shaw pointed out that their success has been achieved by hard work over a number of years. "It's been a tremendous season and everyone is pleased," she said. "We have to thank the whole team, management team, supporters and parents.
""When it started three or four years ago, the aim was to get to the National Division and here we are. It's all a dream at the moment and we'll come to terms with it in the next few days, but we're all absolutely buzzing."
Amy reserved special praise for the coaching team, especially manager Franz Rodriguez who has guided the team from the lower levels to the National Division. "Frank's been an absolute credit to Reading in terms of funding and support and also his family who have been there every week," she said. "He's been there to back us up and that's part of the reason why we have been promoted."
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