Severn Stars appoint new manager ahead of Superleague netball season
By Sarah Wood
Severn Stars - an elite sport partnership between University of Gloucestershire and the University of Worcester - has appointed Claire Sanders as new general manager of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) franchise.
Claire, who is currently assistant coach to the U21s Severn Stars squad, has extensive experience within its high-performance talent pathway and the junior coaching set-up.
Having run a successful commercial hospitality business for 18 years, Claire turned her highly developed people management skills to higher education, educating students in work-based learning environments to support their early career aspirations.
Claire, who is currently studying for her Level 3 netball coach award, balanced working full-time with bringing up her young family with husband, Andy, and studying for a BSc sports coaching and physical education degree, gaining first class honours.
With the founding of Severn Stars, Claire was quickly enlisted to join its high-performance talent pathway and has contributed to team management, as well as coaching the Severn Stars U15s, U17S and one of the team's Nova Academies, which are hubs across the region set up to nurture young talent.
Claire played for Evesham Netball Club before joining Worcester Netball Club (WNC) at its inception, initially playing, then transitioning to umpire and coach. She is currently head coach of WNC U19s.
Claire Sanders said: "As a local netballer, I am passionate about supporting netball in our region and having a Superleague franchise is a massive benefit to grassroots sport in Gloucester, Worcester and all our franchise counties.
"I am excited by our VNSL squad this season and looking forward to working with Melissa (Bessell, Severn Stars head coach), the management team and players.
"Our pathway is strong and is fortunate to have a great team of coaches, who I am also looking forward to supporting, but I am also excited about enhancing our community programme, which has been curtailed somewhat by Covid-19, and getting Stars back out engaging with our fans.
"Having worked in higher education and with the franchise since 2016, I am keen to build on the experience for students from both universities and provide them with opportunities to work in professional sport."
Dr Susie Scriven, board member of Severn Stars Netball, said: "Severn Stars shortly enter their sixth season playing elite, professional netball.
"It was essential we appointed an experienced senior manager with demonstrable commercial acumen, coupled with in-depth netball experience, to lead the business.
"Claire possesses these exact qualities, which, combined with her passion for success, places the management of our franchise in very safe hands."
Severn Stars Netball return to their university home venues for the VNSL 2022 season from February. Tickets for both University of Worcester Arena and University of Gloucestershire Arena matches are now on sale.
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