Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:50PM UTC, Friday, 25 May 2012
After two years out of football the Charlton Women’s reserve team captain, and double-award winner, Athena Yennaris is enjoying being back at the club.
Athena was named as Players’ Player and Manager’s Player of the Year last Friday, the day before her 24th birthday, in her first season with at the Addicks since leaving due to injury in 2009.
And after a stint coaching in the United States of America she is glad to be back in the Charlton fold again, even playing for the first team at The Valley against her former club Tottenham, but surprised with her accolades.
She said: “I am very pleased but I was really surprised. I didn’t expect either of them but it’s just been really nice because I haven’t been here for two years.
“Everyone has welcomed me back and I have settled in really well. I am just back to enjoying football. It was tough not playing for two years and tough to just come and get straight back into it in pre-season but it’s been good fun.
“When I left I was injured and got told that to play again I would need an operation so I went to America to coach for two years and then when I came back my injury was healed.
“I missed playing football in those two years so I thought I need to come back and Charlton were the right team to come back to.”
The reserves have had a good season, finishing fourth behind three Super League teams in the league and gaining a creditable runners up spot in the Kent Cup as well as getting to the League Cup quarter finals and Subsidiary Cup semi finals.
With a squad containing a number of players who can or do still play at under 17 level, skipper Athena has been pleased with their successes, although disappointed they didn’t do themselves more justice.
“We gave Arsenal two really good games but towards the last 10-15 minutes we got a bit tired,” she added. “We should have beaten Chelsea but we matched them really well.
“Our problem was we just couldn’t see games out at the end and drawing too many games but that will come with age and experience.
“It really shows how much Charlton have coming through and, even when I stop playing or leave they will have such a good team because they are all so young and are great players.
“The under 17s that have made their debuts this season have fitted in really well and have adapted to it straight away, which is good.
“[The Kent Cup] was disappointing. I felt we gave a lot but didn’t get back what we wanted or deserved. We did play against their first team but I thought we matched them and were just unlucky with the goals.
“It was a good challenge, especially for the under 17s because that is what they have to come in the future, and I thought we stepped up to it really well, even though the result didn’t go our way.”