Helen Ward makes Watford return

Helen Ward makes Watford return

Welsh international returns to childhood club

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Sophie Lawson

Re-joining the club she started her career at, Helen Ward has re-signed for Watford as the team look to navigate their first season in which relegation to WPL will be in store for one WSL 2 team.

Solid experience

Having taken her first steps with the Golden Girls at the tender age of nine, Ward stayed faithful to the Hertfordshire club progressing through the ranks before ultimately captaining the team until she left in 2009.

A short but successful spell at Arsenal followed before Ward made the switch to Chelsea, staying with the Blues as they strengthened each year to become a force in WSL. Making the move to Reading in 2013, Ward was once more a key component at her new team, helping the Royals navigate to promotion at the end of the 2015 season. Free to leave Reading ahead of the 2016 Spring Series, Ward made her first serious move away from the capital and surrounding areas as she signed for Yeovil Town before having to null her contract after discovering she was pregnant with her second child.

With her son due in the next few weeks, Ward is once again looking forward to getting back to playing part-time, the move back to Watford perfect for where her life has taken her.

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Like coming home

On her return to Watford, Ward stated it feels like “coming home” and that Watford is, “my club.” After a shaky few seasons, the attacker has said that the club have big “plans and ambitions,” impressed by what she’s been made aware of behind the scenes. Speaking to the club’s website after the move was announced the attacker said that she wants to “get fit and playing well” after the birth of her second child and get back into the groove in front of goal, “scoring and assisting as much as possible.”

Set to be one of the oldest in the team, Ward is keen to use her experience to benefit the squad and help the youthful side at every turn. Still looking to add to her 74 caps and 42 goals for Wales, Ward is hopeful that getting back to competitive football will ready her for her next caps and try to help the Dragons “qualify for a major tournament.” Concluding that she wants to help her “hometown club achieve great things.”

Head coach Keith Boanas was thrilled about the move, describing it was the “most significant signing” Watford have made since he’s been in charge, saying that it “sends a key message” about the ambitions of the club. Having followed Ward’s career since his time with Charlton, Boanas is delighted to have the attacker on board, hailing her vast experience suggesting that experience is what’s “been the missing link” in the team. But it’s first things first for Boanas and Ward, the coach keen that the Welsh international “comes through strong from the birth” and is able to transition back into football “as quickly as possible” for the team. Having kept herself fit throughout the pregnancy the onus will be on Watford to get “all the resources and assistance” Ward needs to help her get back to where she was. 

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