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Ross County Women to enter Scottish Women's Football competitive pyramid after launching senior team

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County Women are formally launching their first senior side.

To date, the club have focused on building up their youth structure, with age groups ranging from under-8 through to under-18s.

Previously, if players moved beyond that point and wanted to continue playing, they would need to find a new club. Now, that situation is about to change.

The first training sessions for County's senior teams have already been held, and the intention is to form two teams out of the group – one that will compete in the Highlands and Islands League, and one that will enter the Scottish Women's Football pyramid.

“We’ve got a really strong youth set-up now – about 140 girls are coming to training every week," County's Iain MacIver explained.

“We go up to under-16s and under-18s, so really the next step for the club is to have a senior team.

Some of Ross County's under-16 girls would have moved out of the club's age band without creating a senior team.
Some of Ross County's under-16 girls would have moved out of the club's age band without creating a senior team.

“We have a lot of girls who could feed into that, and we have a number of players who want to join from elsewhere as well.

“We’re going to have players coming to training from now, and it will just be a case of developing the senior team.

“We have a number of games lined up for them already, and then our aim is to have a development team that would play in the Highlands and Islands League, and take a senior team into the pyramid.

“The idea was always to have the two teams. We’ve got a very strong team for the seniors, so we want to push them into the north league and challenge them. We’re confident that ability won’t be an issue.

“We’d like to progress through the national league pyramid, so starting in the north league is the first step in trying to take the club as far as we can.

“Our aim is to take a senior Ross County team right to the top of Scottish Women’s football if we can, but we also want to keep a development team in the Highlands and Islands League to be represented there.

“With the amount of girls we have coming through, hopefully it will give them all an avenue to play at the level that’s right for them.”

A few years ago the club rebranded from Invergordon Girls and Women to Ross County, and the men's set up in Dingwall has continued to show support for the group ever since.

With the launch of senior women's teams, that connection should only grow stronger.

“There’s a lot of work that has gone in behind the scenes to make this happen, and we’ve already had meetings with Ross County about how they can support us going forward and build a stronger connection," MacIver reasoned.

“We’ve had coaches from Ross County come out to us already to help with sessions, and we’re in the process of sourcing a permanent venue for the women’s first team – they’re helping with that.

“At the moment our under-16s are playing their games at Alness United’s ground, but Ross County are helping us source a venue that’s not reliant on support from another club. We would have a venue that would be ours.

“It’s great, because at the very beginning when we were Invergordon the norm was having 10 or 15 girls at training on a Tuesday.

"Things have exploded since then, but we're still looking for experiences players who are interested to get in touch and see how they get on.

“This has been quite a few years in the making but it is fantastic to be at a stage where we can have a senior team that takes its place in the leagues next season."

Ross County Women will not have to wait long to take to the pitch for their first matches, with friendlies lined up for next month.

Depending on how the squad is shaping up, they could even play their first competitive matches in a matter of months.

“We’ve got quite a strong team to move forward with as it is, but a few more experienced players would help cement everything," MacIver added.

“I actually tried to see if a senior team could join the Highlands and Islands League for the second half of this season, but that wasn’t possible.

“In hindsight, we would have done it for this season. I wasn’t sure how the younger ones would get on, but we’ll have to wait for next year.

“The senior team will start playing games in a couple of weeks, so that’s really coming up soon.

“We’ll potentially play competitively in a couple of months, or we’re thinking we might start in 2024 and have a team in the Highlands and Islands League next year until the summer and then the development team takes their place.

“If that is the way we go, our senior team will start playing games in two weeks, and then we will have regular games until the end of the year and start competitively next January.

“We are being asked if we want to join the pyramid right now, but we’ll wait and see how it goes with squad dynamics.

“If not, they’ll still be playing games between now and January, but we might try and get a few more experienced players with a view to starting in January.”

Interested players should contact Ross County Women through the club's social media channels or at rosscountygwfc@gmail.com

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