Already planning for the season to come, the Doncaster Belles have announced Emily Simpkins as the first player to have extended her contract for the coming year.
Once a Belle
Having been the first player in Belles history to sign a full-time [professional] contract, Simpkins has expressed her desire to stay at the Yorkshire club as has been the first to extend her current deal as the Belles look to find their way back to WSL 1 following their relegation.
A dependable figure in midfield, Simpkins was one of the many in the Belles squad to lean on her experience in the top tier as the side attempted to adjust to life in WSL 1, the league having evolved since they were last involved. Having left the Keepmoat in 2010, Simpkins enjoyed stints at Leicester City and Coventry City before settling with Birmingham City for three years, seamlessly transitioning back into the Belles squad when she re-signed half way through the 2015 season.
Fast becoming a key player as the Belles and Reading pulled away from the rest of the league, earning promotion back to WSL 1 from 2, Simpkins continued in the same vein in the 2016 season although there was little to be done as the team failed to settle at the highest level.
Heading into her third full season with the Belles, Simpkins spoke of being happy to have put pen to paper to sign on for the immediate future, citing her happiness and love for the club as a decisive factor. Saying that “it only brings the best of you” if you play with a smile on your face, and talking about the “special feeling” that comes with wearing the Belles shirt, her happiness at the club and appreciation of the support from the fans a helping hand in her decision to prolong her stay.
Already focusing on the challenges that next season will bring, Simpkins stated she already “looking forward to embracing” the ups and downs of what next season might bring. The 26 year-old glad to still be developing as a player and learning next things, speaking about how manager, Emma Coates has aided her progression and is looking forward to continuing to grow as player.
Coates was keen to praise Simpkins’ “experience” and “professionalism” that will be key for the Belles as they adjust to WSL 2 life next year, the midfielder important both on and off the pitch.
Although the length of the deal has not been disclosed it’s apparent Simpkins will be at the club for at least the Spring Series and 2017-18 season.