OLYMPIC star Sally Walton has spoken of her delight after joining Olton Ladies as player coach for the upcoming 2016/17 season.
The 35-year-old, who won a bronze medal for Great Britain four years ago at London 2012, has agreed to move to the National League side as they look to regain their position in the Premier League, which is where Olton played at the highest level for almost two decades.
“I am delighted to be joining Olton as player coach for the coming season,” said Olton.
“Being given the chance to be part of a well-established club which has great ambition and drive was a real determining factor when taking on this appointment.
“I look forward to working closely with the players and staff at the club and look forward to what I hope will be a successful season.”
Stourport-born Walton previously played for Bowdon Hightown, Hampton-in-Arden and Wakefield and her form earned her a call-up to the England international squad back in 2005.
She was selected for the GB side for the 2012 Olympics in London and helped the team finish third in the competition.
Lear year Walton was forced to retire from international hockey due to knee problems and is now working at Solihull School as a hockey coach.
Olton chairman Mandy Gatherer said the club are thrilled to have Walton on board and she hopes it is the beginning of a fantastic partnership.
She said: “These are exciting times for Olton. Sally has the ambition and the vision that absolutely supports our aspirations to build on our great history and ensure we continue to compete at the highest levels of English hockey whilst helping us to develop national and international players of the future.”
Walton will also be responsible for an Elite Junior Academy at the club and will be involved with the progression of all junior players, both through the men’s and ladies teams.
Olton’s men’s side have also seen it fit to make a change this summer as they look to consolidate their position in the National League next season and make a determined move towards joining the elite clubs in the Premier Division.
Mark Wadsley has been hired as the club’s new player-coach for next season and he brings a welath of experience to Olton having previosly played at Beeston for the past ten years.
During that time he won the Premier league & HA Cup multiple times and also played in many European club competitions. Wadsley is a level three coach and has won numerous National titles coaching various age group squads.
On the pitch there are five new faces with Premier League experience and two exciting juniors have also been signed, both of which have been tipped to have a bright future in the sport.