Hearts Women Captain, Mariel Kaney, looks back on the 20/21 season.
"Today brings to an end a rollercoaster season for everyone involved in SWPL 1. COVID-19 has brought many challenges and I know how grateful the players are to have had the opportunity to complete the season. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has played a part in enabling us to do that - the SWF, the clubs, the health workers who have tested us throughout, and the facilities staff for making it as safe an environment as possible for us to play and train in. A special shout out to all at Oriam who have been fantastic for us during this period.
I also want to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey this season. There are too many to mention individually but: to our players who have given everything they have to this season and covered every blade of grass trying, to our coaches who have taught us so much, to our background staff who have kept the show on the road, to the club for their unwavering support, and to our wonderful fans who have had to follow us from afar this season (be it online or on TV). We will welcome you back excitedly next season. It really hasn’t been the same without you.
For many reasons, this has, without doubt, been the craziest and most challenging season I’ve ever been involved in. I am so proud of how far this club and this squad have come since January 2020 when the season “began”, and since September 2020 when it began again under Kirky and his team. They deserve so much credit for building our current squad and developing us in the way that they have. We are lucky to have such a talented and passionate coaching team to learn from.
I’m not sure any other team has been through what we have this season. The physical challenges presented by playing a condensed fixture schedule in our debut season in a professional league are hard to exaggerate. There have also been mental and emotional challenges in trying to redefine what success means to us and learning to focus on improvement and our performances rather than results. The most remarkable part of it all is, we have managed to do it with a smile on our faces most of the time. That is a testament to everyone’s enthusiasm, commitment, and resilience. All are characteristics this squad has in abundance, and of which I am very proud.
This is a special group and we are so looking forward to building on all we have learned this season and taking it into our next campaign.
See you in August."