Kelly Smith says the Arsenal Ladies Hub will help improve the team’s “togetherness and cohesiveness”.
The new facility was unveiled at the training ground on Tuesday, equipped with a new changing room, physiotherapy room, ice bath and managerial offices.
It is the first time in the club’s history that the women’s team have had their own purpose-built facilities, and Smith believes the Hub can only benefit them going into the new Women’s Super League season.
It’s great that we have this facility because it feels like more of a family now, more of a homecoming. I think it’ll bring us together on and off the pitch as wellKelly Smith
“It was absolutely fantastic to see these facilities for the first time because we’d seen the plans on paper months ago, so to finally have our own base has been really pleasing,” she told Arsenal.com
“We didn’t have anything when I was breaking into the first team. It was literally just a training pitch and we’d turn up just before training, train and then leave. Now we can come here early, get in the ice bath to aid our recovery, relax in the common room and chat with the team.
“There’s also the dining room right next to the building so, once we’ve debriefed at the end of a training session, we can shower and go for lunch. We eat the right food to replenish our muscles, then we can relax and go home.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for it. It’s great that we have this facility because it feels like more of a family now, more of a homecoming. I think it’ll bring us together on and off the pitch as well.
“It’s our base whereas before we used to just come here to train, get out on the pitches and then leave. We lacked that togetherness and cohesiveness before but we have that now and it will be interesting to see how much this new facility helps us this year.
“Everyone’s really chomping at the bit to start the season and we really want to start well. In the last couple of seasons we’ve had a slow start and we’re aware that you can’t have a slow start in this league.
"You have to be at the races right from the get-go. We’re aiming to do that and we have a tough opening game, but hopefully we can get the three points.”