Wealth of talent, ‘good people’ to kickstart NPL season
WESTERN Pride newcomer Trent Gregson had some positive community priorities when he started rebuilding the region's premier women's team.
Among the Pride head coach's goals was to restore quality to the Ipswich-based team that was forced to withdraw from last year's Women's National Premier Leagues (WNPL) competition.
He has achieved that with an accomplished squad of 17 players preparing to kick off the 2021 season in March.
"I wanted to build the roster with good people,'' Gregson said, having taken over late last year.
"They are all extremely talented footballers but they are all great people, showing a very positive vibe for the club, which is what we want.''
The former Gold Coast premiership-winning mentor was also mindful of recruiting new players rather than draining the region's football stocks at other local clubs.
"I want to try and help and get back to where the local community clubs are on the same page as Pride,'' he said.
Fresh from the latest Western Pride coaching course offered by Everton FC, Gregson was delighted with his latest signings - a mixture of footballers with NPL and Brisbane Women's Premier League (BWPL) experience.
They include Meg Krautz, Savannah Tuson, Georgie Rollino, Marin Austin-Barlow and Gladys Esquivel Villanueva.
Krautz was part of last year's grand final team Logan Lightning.
Tuson, Rollino and Austin-Barlow were members of last season's Coomera BWPL squad that finished second to the Ipswich City Bulls.
Esquivel Villanueva was chosen in the BWPL Select team after her successful season for AC Carina.
Gregson's wife Lisa is also on board for the 2021 season.
Lisa is a long-term captain in the Gold Coast and Brisbane Premier League competitions.
She last year led the Southport side to double success in the Gold Coast Premier League.
Other signings include Abbey Lloyd, April Gleeson and Meaghan McElligott.
Gleeson and McElligott also played for Logan Lightning.
McElligott has lined up for Canberra United in the W-League.
The 2021 squad also features Kate Webb, Lauren Brimelow, Bianca Warrener and Danielle White.
McElligott has been appointed captain with Warrener as vice-captain.
"We are building a culture at Pride and players like this are crucial to how we achieve that,'' Gregson said.
"I've watched all the girls play.
"It's a really balanced team.''
The squad has been given an extended rest through January after a number of the players were involved in games as late as November last year.
"Giving them a decent break, they can all come back fresh,'' he said.
Gregson has been coaching women's football for six years.
He last year completed his head coaching role with Coomera in the Brisbane Women's Premier League competition.
Before that, he coached his Southport team to a premiership and grand final in the Gold Coast Premier League.
He is also coach of the Queensland Police women's side that plays in regular national carnivals. He shared in the team's previous bronze medal success.
Preparing for a March 13 kick-off, Gregson has a trial planned against Broadbeach at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
That will be followed by more pre-season games against Souths United, South West Thunder and the QAS.