Freya Louis steps aside as Needham Market Women's manager to concentrate on growing club's female set-up
On the eve of their 2020/21 campaign Needham Market Women have announced a new structure to the coaching department that will see Freya Louis relinquish her role as first team head coach.
Instead, she will be taking over the responsibility of developing youth players and creating a pathway to the two adult teams that currently exist at the club.
The club have said the handover of the reigns "is hers and the club’s commitment to create a strong coaching network to provide a pathway for talented girls to succeed in adult football."
Louis will continue to be involved with the senior sides but has stepped down as matchday head coach with her number two Warren Lewis-Claxton being promoted to the role.
Louis said: “The decision to step down as first team manager to focus on the development of all our female players at Needham has come at the right time.
"As a club, it’s important we create a successful pathway for all our players and offer them the opportunities to exceed in their playing career at any level.
“We have a very talented Under-16s side who will now be looking to feed into women’s football in the not-too-distant future and I’m looking forward to giving them the opportunity to not only play at county level, but regional too.
“As a provision we have gone from strength to strength since forming in 2018. This decision to solidify our female pathway from youth to adult football demonstrates the commitment we have as a club to girls and women’s football.”
Lewis-Claxton has been part of the coaching staff since the club’s inception, with officials saying it made him the obvious candidate to succeed Louis as head coach.
He is to be ably assisted at training and by the addition of two extra coaches as the club continues to prepare for the forthcoming season in the Eastern Region Women's League.
Lewis-Claxton said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the women’s first team manager. It is an exciting opportunity to step up to the role and continue the journey we have started.
"I cannot wait for this season to begin; we had a good season last year and ended it positively. We are fully focusing on promotion this season for both teams as I feel we have recruited very strongly on top of an already talented group.”
In the two years since Needham created a women’s side it has grown from strength to strength with a promotion, two cup finals and the creation of a reserve side.
The club said their latest announcement "looks to build on the club’s early successes and to create lasting foundations, making it more than just a football club, but a hub for women’s football in Suffolk".
Needham Market Women's season kicks off with Sunday's Eastern Region Division One North home game with Cambridge City Ladies & Girls Development team (2pm).
Louis was this week the subject of an article on the FIFA website as a result of becoming the first female head coach of the Football Fun Factory.
* See Friday's Bury Free Press for a season preview for Needham Market Women.