It will be an emotional day for Manly United’s well admired National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s coach Chris Williams who will manage his final game after announcing he will take a year off football as his underdogs face Premiers Sydney University SFC at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday.
After spending a solid sixteen years at the Northern Beaches club involved with the Boys as well as the Women’s programs, Williams was over the moon with how his fearless Manly United side knocked out the highly fancied Sydney Olympic side in thrilling fashion.
“I think the victory in the semi-final showed another side of our game, resilience, character and adaptability.
“To be honest it wasn’t our best footballing performance all year and we know we can play better.
“But we adapted really well to the challenges that Olympic set us and I’m really proud of the players for working so hard for each other, for remaining calm and for believing right until the end that we could win that match by staying true to the way we want to play the game.”
Taking over Manly United Women’s head coach role in 2013, Williams understands that his squad will need to produce something extra special to defeat a silverware hungry Sydney University SFC outfit full of current W-League and Matildas stars.
“We’re really excited by the challenge of playing Sydney Uni in the Grand Final this weekend.
“They have been the leaders in the competition for the last few years and Alex and his squad have really pushed everyone in the league to raise their standards, so we can’t wait to test ourselves and play them on Sunday.
“Sydney Uni play some great football and I know everyone looks at us as underdogs, but I’ve got so much trust and belief in my players and we’re really confident that if can play at our best we can push them all the way and maybe spring what many people might consider a surprise.”
Asked which of the many female superstars Sydney University SFC will be ones to watch out for, Williams stated that they have match winners across the park.
“It’s really hard to pinpoint one or two players form their squad as the reality is they have internationals, and current and ex W-League players across the park and on the bench.
“The fact that they could call on the likes of Michelle Heyman and Rach Soutar off the bench against the Northern Tigers last weekend says it all.
“However we really believe that no matter who we play, we can beat anyone if we stick to our plans, work hard for each other and play our football.”
With Manly United carrying the underdog tag come Sunday, the one-time Tongan Men’s National Team coach stated that both teams have played a pivotal role in the further development of the female game in the state.
“I think both clubs have done a lot to push and raise the standards of women’s football in the NPL over the last few years. Both clubs have great youth development set ups, we both have a core group of players who have been at the club for a number of years.
“For example, depending on injuries/availabilities up to 9 or 10 of our matchday squad on Sunday could be Manly United juniors and both teams like to get the ball on the ground and play what I believe, to be some of the best football in the competition.
“Alex has done an amazing job there over the last few years and I’m really looking forward to what I’m sure will be a great game of football on Sunday.”
Following the match on Sunday, Williams’ legacy will be carried on by his long term assistant Tom Hopley, but first things first, the Manly United girls will be hoping they will be sending off their ‘supercoach’ a Championship winner come Sunday afternoon.