Lewes FC can confirm Nat Haigh has been appointed assistant manager to women’s first-team boss Scott Booth ahead of the forthcoming season.
Haigh began her career at Leeds United and played for the likes of Yeovil, Coventry United and Aston Villa during her playing days.
Now taking the jump into coaching, Booth’s new assistant says she’s excited about the season ahead.
“I’m delighted to join Lewes. It’s a brilliant football club and our ethos and values here align with mine,” says Haigh.
“There are some brilliant people here and they were a big pull for me. Working with Scott, he’s a very experienced manager and knows the game really well. The likes of Kelly Lindsey as well, it’s a really good group of professional people who have a vision and are passionate about developing the club.
“When I first came down to visit I said to Kelly this place reminds me a lot of Wetherby, the town I grew up in. It’s got a community feel to the club and town, a very humble place where people work super hard to make things happen and love what they do. I wanted to be a part of that!”
Big changes to the women’s game
Haigh began her playing career back in the mid-2000s with Leeds United. After just two years in their U16s team, she was promoted to the first team.
Reflecting on the progression of women’s football over the past two decades, she says: “I was lucky enough when at Leeds to be coached by people such as Gemma Grainger [now Wales manager] and Julie Chipchase, who unfortunately is no longer with us.
“In that sense I’ve been quite lucky. I’ve had brilliant coaches across the years and you learn from everyone. We’re all different, and I think it’s the same now in that every coach addresses the game in a different way.
“In terms of the game itself, we’ve improved across the aboard. The physicality has improved, the fitness of players, the technical ability. And that’s because girls can now access academies, regional talent clubs and play in leagues. The girls can represent their countries because the pathways are in place.
“It’s great to see the opportunities that these young players now have. Of course I wish I had that 20 years ago but I’m proud to have played a small part in working in those pathways and developing opportunities for girls to access football in a more professional environment.”
‘We’ve made some incredibly talented new singings’
Haigh joins new manager Booth in the Dripping Pan dugout this coming season – her first full role in coaching. And having had a few weeks to bed herself into the club, she says she’s expecting a big impact from the players come the opening day.
“I think we’ve got a really, really good group of people. We’ve got people who want to work hard, play for Lewes, love everything about the club, give everything for the badge both on and off the field,” says Haigh.
“That was a massive draw for me. This is a group who is passionate, committed and want to improve. We want to improve as a team and that’s a really good foundation to grow from.”
As for what fans can expect from the team this season, Haigh offers a glimpse of what’s to come.
“Naturally we want to be a team that plays good football, is entertaining for the fans, and we’ve made some incredibly talented new singings which I’m excited for the supporters to see,” she adds.
“We want to enjoy the game, enjoy the football and play an attractive style. We want to make every game challenging for our opposition and be consistent, pushing every team in this division.
“Anyone can beat anyone in the Women’s Championship, so we know the task in hand!”
Everyone at Lewes FC would like to welcome Nat to the club!