The reigning Queensland NPL Women’s Premiers, the Gap Gators FC, are looking to strengthen the team with the inclusion of three new players into their 2017 squad.
Coach Rob Askew has looked to youth from the club’s junior system with the inclusion of Lauren Butler and Charlotte Bohl.
“We’ve always been a development club. We are proud of the fact that we pick our players from our system and we’ve done that for 20 years,” said Askew.
“Lauren and Charlotte are good athletes and technically sound, but it will be all about learning. It’s an expectation that they become better decision makers."
Lauren Butler, who is just 17, has been in the Gap system for three years and her improvement has been rewarded with a place in the Australian School Girls’ team.
“At times Lauren can make costly decisions but she’s got all the right ingredients to become one of the best centre backs in the league,” said Askew. “She’s tall, quick, competitive and technically very good.”
Butler has a desire to forge a career in football which she says was boosted from her time playing against the boys in the under 15 NPL competition.
“Playing at the Gap has been the best move I have made,” Butler said. “I was mentored by Bec Price and Cath O’Neil in the club’s buddy leadership and development system. They have been great influences on me and I aspire to be like them. Now I want to give back to the younger players.”
Winger Charlotte Bohl is now officially a part of the squad despite impressing in a number of call-ups to the first team last year where she scored with regularity.
Rob Askew says she will be aiming to improve her technical dribbling ability this year.
“She has a knack for scoring goals and now she needs to step up her ability to beat players one-on-one,” said Askew.
Former first team player Chloe Robertson makes her long awaited return from an ACL-injury which has debilitated her over the past couple of years. Askew says he believes she will get back her form she exhibited before the injury.
“She has had a horrible injury and a long road back with rehabilitation,” he said. “I think she’ll get back to the form she was in prior. She was a national U17 squad member and regular first team player for us.”
The only major loss to the squad is Hayley Riccardi due to ongoing injury. Askew said it was a shame because she had a massive year for the Gap in 2016.
“The squad is not finished yet; I expect to add one or two players,” he said. “We are aiming for a W-League quality player."
The master coach is toying with a new way of playing, still in the 4-3-3 formation, but something that will challenge the team and keep the opposition guessing.