Raptors Ladies: 19/20 Start of Season Review
Updated: Jan 5
By Luis Pereira & Giacomo Mercandelli
As training for the second half of the season starts next week we took the opportunity to speak with Raptors Ladies coaching team, Luis Pereira & Giacomo Mercandelli, on how the season has gone so far, and their aspirations for the second half.
We gained and lost some players over the Summer, how was that overall?
"We were able to keep most of the players that were with us on the 1st season and had some amazing signings.
We were able to sign some players with amazing quality and with a good previous experience in high level football.
We lost some players that were very important for the team and in positions that are critical for our tactical philosophy, but our players stepped up this year and showed to the coaches and to the other teams that we are here to stay and we are here to fight for promotion to the 3rd League."
"The general curiosity was, after the constant improvements of last season, to see whether the trend would continue, and where this team could go.
Some girls left, but new hirings took the team even a level ahead. Just consider that one of them, Beatriz Sivieri, with 8 goals, is among the top scorers of the league.
I am Very happy about the new players. Jessica looks like she entered in the main group very fast. She’s always there for training."
And how about the players we already had, are they improving?
"Some of our long term injured players are coming back and getting ready to go back to the pitch.
Aurelie Jackson is back and already played against Bohemians, and Adela Sediva should be back very soon.
I can proudly say that all the players improved a lot and all players keep improving.
Compared to last year we notice a better attitude of our players towards our tactical philosophy and we can see that our players became very disciplined tactically.
We had some amazing and deserved wins against teams that last year were considered the strongest in our league, and ended up winning 4-1 against Bohemians that just dropped from the 3rd Division."
Did the start of the season surprise you?
"The beginning was excellent, with a 9-0 victory at home and and a suffered but precious 1-0 vs Pavlíkov.
If someone could have had a doubt after the leaving of 2 key players, Louise McIntyre and Harriet Marshall, and the 4-2 defeat in the first away gams vs Jirkov, they had to soon re-change their mind: other two victories gave again the hope to reach the promotion.
Most important, good football was shown, which gave enjoyment to fans coming over even from Germany and Wales to cheer for their girls, who lost against the team currently in first position, Vedomice, with the sensation that victory could have been reached.
Playing football often makes it hard to compete against teams who play in a very different way. It was the case in Brnany, where a draw could have demotivated anyone, between what were perceived “weird” decisions. However, the mental strengths of the girls took it to the next level: frustration became willness of revenge, and the 1-4 in Bohemians’ home clearly showed it."
We also had changes in the coaching team, how has that gone so far?
"We lost coach Simone D’Andreta that left us to be in charge of the Prague Raptors Academy, but we added Giacomo Mercandelli to our coaches family.
Apart from Giacomo's football passion he is a very analytic coach and with a great view of the game,
Coach Giacomo is one the biggest reasons why our players became fearless and mentally stronger.
Giacomo brings up the players motivation and is the biggest factor of why our players fitness level increased to levels that we didn’t expect."
What do you think about our chances in the second half of the season?
"Right Now we sit in 4th place only 4 points away from the 1st place and with good chances of reaching the top of the league very soon
The second half of the season will be very exciting and we are ready to fight and hopefully be champions and be promoted this year.
Thanks to all the players for their efforts on the sessions, on the games and for turning this team into a huge family and I think that is our biggest strength, our environment is amazing, and it’s really good to see that our players have fun together on the pitch and outside the pitch too.
Special thanks to the Captains of the Team Anna Osterthun, Linda Vesela, and Carly Mccan, for the amazing job that they have done until now."
"So far, the atmosphere looks good. There is a general feeling that the team can still reach the promotion, and commitment and respect could be felt in every training.
I am confident we won’t give up until the end ."
The ladies will kick-off their season away at TJ Baník Švermov in mid-March. We won the reverse fixture 9-0 but expecting a tougher outing this time. With Jirkov not playing that weekend and Sahara & Bohemians playing out a top-2 match we have a great chance to put some more pressure early on.