SAHARA Osborne-Ricketts believes few other teams will approach the season with as much confidence as Oxford United when their FA Women’s Super League campaign gets under way tonight.
The U’s entertain London Bees at Abingdon United’s Northcourt Road ground.
After winning their first treble – including the Southern Region Women’s Football League – last season, Oxford stormed their way to the South West Combination League last season at the first time of asking.
The U’s also proved their cup credentials, reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup before they were eliminated by Everton in front of 1,000 people at the Kassam Stadium.
And while the margin of that 7-0 defeat suggests Oxford still have a long way to go before they can challenge the heavyweights of the Super League, Osborne-Ricketts admits confidence is high ahead of their Division 2 campaign.
“We won our league last season and had a good FA Cup run as well so that’s obviously given us confidence going into this new Super League,” she said.
“The opening game is going to be massive, we know London Bees are a good side and it will be a competitive game and in pre-season this is what we’ve been working towards, so we are just excited to get going now.
“It’s going to be a really competitive league and we are just happy to be a part of it.
“We are going into every game looking to be competitive. It is a massive jump from where we were last season, but we’ll just look to compete in every game.
“We are not going to go in saying we can win because we are not there yet, but we’ll just try and finish as high as possible.”
Osborne-Ricketts has previously played at Reading, Arsenal and Watford, and while the centre back knows her current club have ground to make up on others, there is nowhere else she would rather be.
“I had never played for my local team even though I’m from Oxford, so I just thought it was time to come home,” added Osborne-Ricketts.
“I love the responsibility of being captain, I’ve got a good bunch of girls I get along with all of them and I’ll do everything I can to help them.
“I’m quite relaxed, I get everyone to have a little dance, get the music blaring to chill everyone out and then on the pitch we have a little huddle where I just say a little speech to the girls and try and get them ready for the game.”
l The FA Women's Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets at ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl