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by Benny

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Chelsea Ladies - Ward moves on

Welsh international Helen Ward announced that her contract had expired this week and she was leaving Chelsea for pastures new. We caught up with the centre forward and asked her to recap on a her spell at the club and to find out what happens next.

Hi Helen thanks for taking the time to talk to us it’s been an exciting 3 years at the club since the FA WSL began we’ve had a couple of managers an FA Cup final and some great results of the years so…

What will be your fondest memory from your time at the club?

I’ve got a few, my first league goal was special as it had been a (really!) long time coming but I knew I had the backing of my manager and the players so when it hit the back of the net it felt amazing and everyone seemed pleased for me. And of course the FA cup run, the semi final, especially, was brilliant, no one outside our dressing room thought we would turn Arsenal over but we did.

What was your favourite goal for the club?

The goal in the FA Cup final was pretty special. Even if it hadn’t come in such a big game I think it would still be up there among my best. I’m just gutted that, in the end, it counted for nothing.

Glad you picked that one, It was a fantastic touch, turn and great composure to finish, it was our first Women’s FA Cup final and it was a really enjoyable day out in Bristol. Its a shame to not come away with the trophy especially given the nature of their equaliser in extra time. But as the first Chelsea player to score in a Women’s FA Cup final there are still positives, does this go down as your favourite game or do you have another in mind…

What was your favourite game for the club?

On a personal level, the 3-1 home win against Everton in the league in 2012. I’d always struggled against them and I’ve always been in teams that have found it tough against them so to win convincingly and to score a hat trick to win the game was fantastic. As far as team performances go, the 2-1 win against Liverpool last season was very good. Our backs were against the wall but we fought for everything and our emergency loan GK, Shannon Lynn, was unbelievable in that game, just as Sarah Quantrill had been against Arsenal in that semi final.

Who was your toughest opposition defender or goalkeeper to play against?

Karen Bardsley at Lincoln had a really good season and I had a few chances against her this season but found her really tough to beat. In terms of Defenders I think Liverpool’s Whitney Engen is a fantastic player with good pace and strength, the same as Gilly Flaherty at Arsenal. But every one you come up against is good in this league, that’s what makes it so special when you do score goals.

Bardsley is a good shout, It’s felt like Lincoln have been a bit of a bogey side for us of the last three years or so, they have once of the best defensives in the league too. Now lets look at your teammates any of those stand out…

Who was the best player to play alongside at Chelsea?

Unfortunately I only played a handful of games with Yuki but you can tell she is a class act. On the whole over the three seasons I really enjoyed it when Drew Spence was playing in midfield behind me and also Sue Lappin. As a forward they are exactly the type of player you want, they genuinely seem to enjoy sending a ball through to their forward to score as much as scoring themselves (not like us forwards!) and they are so clever in their play and I felt like they knew exactly where to put the all every time. The pair of them very rarely give the ball away.

We’ve seen a bit more of Drew towards the end of the season and she got a goal in the Development Cup against Millwall at the weekend, so hopefully there is more game time for her next season.

What are your plans for the future? Do you hope to stay in the FAWSL?

Yeah I’d like to play at the top for as long as I can as I know that once you drop down it can be tough to get back up. I have a few options to consider but I’m not rushing into anything, it could be my last move in football so I need to make sure it is right for me. I’ve one more game for Wales this year so I want to focus on that and then make a decision on my future.

Thanks Helen, On behalf of the club and the fans, we’d like to thank you for all your efforts at the club, we really appreciate your professionalism on the pitch and your friendliness off it, We’ll be keeping an eye on you as well as the press for news of your next challenge. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and we wish you all the best for the future.