Calder United has exceeded all expectations in the first half of the National Premier League Women’s competition.
Having promoted a number of younger players from their ranks, Calder, who has been a powerhouse in the competition, expected to drop a few matches and maybe slip down the ladder.
But the side has shocked everyone, including the coaching staff, to sit atop the table after 12 rounds with nine wins.
Calder coach Mark Torcaso said they were shocked at the development of this year’s squad.
Seven players from either their under-19s or reserves teams joined the senior team this season.
“It’s nice to look down [on the other teams], but it has taken a bit of time to get there,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of hard work and we can not believe how well the young girls are adjusting to this level.
“The senior players have made them feel right at home.”
Torcaso said the senior players had been really influential in getting the squad heading in the one direction having been through a number of highs together.
He said they had been really accountable to doing what is best for the side. Torcaso said the coaches maybe didn’t realise how good the next generation of players were.
“I think we underestimated them,” he said. “The last two seasons we lost so much with COVID, we didn’t know if they would be ready.
“We underestimated how good they are.”
With Western United to have an A-League women’s side later this year, several Calder players are set to get shot at the higher level.
Torcaso said despite the connection between the two clubs, they were trying to keep it as separate as possible.
“The players want to go out there and perform and excel,” he said.
“The main thing is keeping a separate focus at Calder. If it happens for them, that’s great but the main focus is on the now.”
Despite the faster development of the Calder playing group, Torcaso said nothing changes with what they want to achieve this season.
Development remains the number one priority.
“We’re still gelling and starting to build together as a team,” he said. “We just want to continue on what we’re doing each week and work hard.
“Where does it take us? Could be a premiership, grand final or fourth. We have no expectations at all.”
Calder beat Bayside United 7-1 on Saturday.
As well as a strong NPL season, Calder is through to the final four of the Nike F.C Cup. Calder has won the competition the last four times.
Calder will find out their opponent for the semi final this week.
“The girls are focused on what they’re doing,” Torcaso said.
“They’re determined to play as many big games of football as we can for their development.
“The more games, the better for the progress.
“Any trophies along the way is fantastic.”