The Gillingham FC Post-16 Girls Academy team finished top of their division in the South East Counties Women's Football League, after a fantastic first season in that division.

The team won 18 of their 21 games, scoring 122 goals overall with an incredible goal difference of +75!

Reflecting on the girls' success, coach Ian Cox said: "At the start of the season we were an unknown quality, entering into a league that we knew very little about. The girls started to become more comfortable as the season went on, but it was from the turn of the year that they showed a real winning desire, having to make up ground to catch up with the then first-place team.

"Since the start of 2017, they have not lost a single game, and have run out as worthy champions! What the girls have achieved has been a testament to their attitude and their mind-set!"

Looking at the Girls Academy's performance across the season, it was the girls' game against Glebe in February that was the real stand out point. "At the time Glebe were second in the league, while we were third, so we had to win this game," remembers Ian Cox. "We were faced with a few problems, especially that we could only field 10 players! I think this was the game where the girls came of age and really matured, showing their togetherness and a real positive mental attitude."

The girls went on to win that game, giving them the advantage they needed to rise to the top of the league.

"The girls have been fantastic this season despite being faced with some adversity, including losing points when one team pulled out of the league, and not being able to progress in the cup despite a strong performance," added Ian Cox. "At this point the girls could have thrown in the towel and given up, but the most pleasing aspect of this whole journey for me has been their mental strength and desire to win, despite the tribulations and hurdles put before them."

Alongside the team's success, several Girls Academy players have also had fantastic opportunities to develop their game, including first year player Millie Waud who secured a regular position in the title and cup-winning Gillingham Ladies FC squad!

Girls Academy Captain Jade Tinsley said of her team's success: "This season has been one of the best seasons I have ever been part of. It's had its ups and downs, but we pulled together and played as a team, and when we play as a team we are unstoppable. It's been an absolute honour to captain this great group of girls!"

Congratulations to the whole Girls Academy squad – we look forward to more success in 2017-18!