A PE teacher at Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard has been handed the job of managing Ipswich Town Ladies.
After running junior girls football at county level, Ralph Pruden has been given his first job in senior management.
The 36-year-old PE teacher is no stranger to high-level football, having been in charge of the under-16 and under-14 Suffolk girls teams for the past nine years.
His latest challenge, however, has got him raring to go in the upcoming season.
“I am really excited about it,” said Pruden. “It is something I have wanted to do for a long while now.”
The ladies team, who Pruden admitted had a poor last season, are holding trials to find new talent and Pruden said he was excited about the prospect of finding new stars.
“Initially we will assess what we have got, then we will look to see who we can attract to the club,” he said.
After coming 11th in the South East Women’s Combination League, Pruden is hoping for better next season.
He said: “We are looking for a positive season and to push up the table.”
The club will soon find out from the Football Association if a division restructure will take place and if this affects their league.
Taking on such an important role Pruden, who lives in Hawstead, is well aware of the potential difficulties.
Soon he will be juggling a full-time teaching job, managing a squad of female footballers, and continuing his previous extra-curricular commitments, but he says he is ‘up for the challenge’.
“It’s quite a commitment,” he said. “But I’m prepared because it something I have wanted to do and my family supports me. I am confident the two won’t conflict.”
Indeed, having won national titles in his previous job as head of PE at the now-closed Great Cornard Middle School, Pruden wants to continue running football teams and achieving success with his current students.
This success is also something he would like to transfer to his new ladies team, many of whom he already knows.
“I know some of the players from my involvement at a county level, but it will be nice to work with some new faces,” he said.
“It will be a challenge to see how different it will be, but I have worked in football for years, it is still managing different characters and egos.”
For information about the trials contact Pruden by calling 07795 282927.