Garcia agrees new dual-role with Chiefs

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Spanish international Patricia Garcia will combine playing for the Exeter Chiefs Women with the role of the club's new Academy manager next season. Picture: Getty Images

By Mark Stevens

Patricia Garcia says exciting times lie ahead for her, on and off the field, after she today agreed a new contract with the Exeter Chiefs Women for next season.

The 31-year-old Spanish international has confirmed she will again be part and parcel of Susie Appleby’s squad as they look to attack their second season in the Allianz Premier 15s.

Garcia played a pivotal role in helping the newly-formed Chiefs settle to life in the top-flight of the women’s game, helping the Devonians to record a sixth-place finish and at least one victory each over the top four of Harlequins, Saracens, Wasps and Loughborough Lightning.

Now, Garcia is looking to combine her playing duties with that of a new off-field role at the club, where she will become the new Women’s Academy Manager, helping to nurture the next batch of young, local talent into the Chiefs set-up.

“To know that I am staying with the Chiefs for another season is something I am very happy about,” said the 31-year-old back. “It has been an amazing season for me and also for the club. At times it has been challenging, where we have had some hard moments, some tough moments, but I think we must be proud of the work the players, the staff, everyone at the club have done to help us jump into the Premier 15s.

“We have beaten almost all the teams in the league, we played some great rugby and it was all very exciting. Now we want to keep growing again next season, so I am very happy to be part of that.”

Garcia - who is equally adept at scrum-half or fly-half - featured 12 times for the Chiefs last season, scoring two tries in the process, and is excited at what the future holds for the club moving forward.

Patricia Garcia enjoys coaching as much as playing. Picture: JMP Sport

“From the moment I arrived, everyone at the Chiefs made me feel at home,” she added. “It’s a great club, a very professional environment, and with the help we get from not just the women’s staff, but the men also, it was an easy decision for me to stay.”

Now, Garcia will be looking to use her own extensive coaching knowledge to help bring through future stars of the club, taking on the new role of Academy Manager.

“This new role is something I am very excited about,” she continued. “I am very grateful to Susie and the club for giving me this opportunity. As I said, I am excited that she wants me to lead this project and help develop and bring through these players on their pathway.

“I love this sport and I want to give my all back to is. With this role, I feel I can leave some of my legacy here in in England. I want to help create this project for the club and the young girls, who I know can make that move into the Chiefs jersey.”

Commenting on the new deal for Garcia, Chiefs Women’s coach Appleby expressed her delight that the experienced Spaniard would be on board again next season.

“I’m over the moon that Pat is with us again next year,” added Appleby. “What she has brought to the team, on and off the field, has been invaluable. Her experience, her knowledge and her game understanding is just fantastic, as is the way she works with our players and those in the Centre of Excellence along with Dave Kimberley.

“Since she arrived, she has just embraced everything to help develop the Chiefs. A player of her experience is invaluable in helping us build for the future and with her new role in the Academy, I think she will have a major influence in helping us become an even stronger club and team next season.”

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