A fresh start is exactly what Sophie Harris needed after enduring a difficult 2013 – and the London Bees goalkeeper cannot wait to start building her new club from the ground up.
Football could not have been further away from the 19-year-old’s mind after her mother passed away at the end of last year.
A shoulder injury and stiff competition from her fellow 'keepers had already curtailed much of her two-year stint at former club Arsenal Ladies, though a loan move to Nottingham Forest helped her rack up much-needed playing time.
London Bees WFC
League: FA WSL2
Home: The Hive, Barnet FC
General Manager: Alex Kaufman
By Chris Bailey
And with 2013 now firmly in her rear-view mirror, Harris believes she is just the person to tackle any first-year teething problems that lie ahead for the Bees in WSL2.
"I’ve been unfortunate with a lot of injuries, I had an operation on my shoulder and bereavement in my family," said Harris, who started playing football at Lincoln Ladies’ Centre of Excellence.
"My mum passed away which had stopped me playing on and off.
"She told me to do whatever I wanted to do, so I’m going to keep her with me and hopefully she’ll be with me through the season.
"It’s a new start for me and it’s about getting back playing. I want to start fresh.
"It’s good feeling knowing that they’ve seen my capability and that I can do well for the team, and I want to show for that in my game.
"I have to make sure I get that first-team spot and compete against the other 'keepers in the squad."
Harris, who is an England U20 international, met many of her new team-mates just last month as trials were hosted ahead of the new Women’s Super League season.
But she believes the unfamiliarity can be a help rather than a hindrance – and has not ruled out springing a surprise against some of WSL2’s more established outfits.
"It’s a good thing bringing people in from everywhere, because if you already have a team that’s developed in football quite a lot of groups have already formed off the pitch," she added.
"We’re not going into this thinking it doesn’t really matter what we do this year – we want to show we can cope against teams like Sunderland and Doncaster."