The vice chairman of a youth football team based in Bushey has hailed the phenomenal achievement of his under-16 Pumas team after they won the Hertfordshire County Cup last month for the sixth time in seven years.
Garston Ladies Pumas have reached the final for seven consecutive years and their only defeat came in a penalty shootout.
Dave Annal explained why he was so proud.
He said: “We’re a grass roots club with no trials, no streaming and believe very much in football for all. The only way we don’t take a new girl is if there are no spaces left in squads. Last season, we were up to 27 squads and there are 25 squads this season but it does start to reach breaking point considering we’re a volunteer run club.
“People give up their own time to run the organisation. We currently have 322 players on our books and 60 to 70 volunteers. We provide football for girls who want to play football. We’d like to have more space but where do you put everything.”
Although the obvious way of measuring success is by winning leagues and cups, Dave stressed that success can be measured in a number of different ways.
He said: “For the Pumas to have reached the final every season for seven years is a remarkable achievement especially when you consider that we’re up against academy teams with paid coaches who select the best players.”
It’s not just the Pumas who are the pride of Garston Ladies who play at Bushey Sports Club. The Under 12 Wildcats were crowned county futsal champions while the Under 15 Lionesses, playing at U16 level, also won their futsal competition.
Dave said: “We’re a very well run club and have been so over a number of years – It’s about the way we deal with players from the start. We want our coaches to be the best coaches they can be and have a coach development officer while we also have a player development officer.
“As well as success on pitch you can also measure it by going to training. If a new girl who has just started goes home with the player of the week and a big smile on her face that is as much success as an 18-year-old lifting a trophy.”