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17th Jan, 2022

Versatile Claire aiming to Star after stepping into new role

Rob George 6th Jan, 2022

SEVERN Stars have unveiled Claire Sanders as the new general manager of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) franchise.

Claire, who is currently assistant coach to the Severn Stars Under-21s squad for this season, has extensive experience within its high-performance talent pathway and the junior coaching set-up. Stars, founded in 2016, is an elite sport partnership between University of Gloucestershire and the University of Worcester.

Having run a successful commercial hospitality business for 18 years, Claire turned her highly developed people management skills to higher education.

Working at the University of Worcester, she educated students in work-based learning environments to support their early career aspirations. Claire juggled full-time work with studying for a Sports Coaching and Physical Education degree, in which she gained First Class Honours. Alongside this, Claire has continued to develop her lifelong passion and commitment to the sport of netball.

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 Under-15s, Under-17s and one of the team’s Nova Academies, which are hubs across the region set up to nurture young talent.

A local girl, Claire played for Evesham Netball Club before joining the well-known Worcester Netball Club (WNC) at its inception, initially playing then transitioning to umpire and coach. She is currently head coach of WNC Under-19s and is currently studying for her Level 3 Netball Coach award in her spare time.

“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 Worcester, Gloucester and all our franchise counties,” she said.

“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.

Visit www.severnstars.co.uk for more.

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