Alessandro Spugna oversees his first competitive match in charge of Roma Women on Saturday, against none other than his most recent employers, Empoli.
A new era is beginning for the Giallorosse, just months after they earned their first trophy with victory in the Coppa Italia. Spugna has become coach to take the role of Betty Bavagnoli, who moved into a more senior role as Head of Women’s Football.
Spugna’s task is to carry on Bavagnoli’s good work on the bench in what will be an exciting and closer to call Serie A Femminile season.
Roma are not considered favourites for one of the Champions League places, but they have strengthened their squad and will be aiming to improve upon last season’s fifth-place finish. Perhaps the outsiders role could help them spring a few surprises along the way.
Indeed, Spugna’s Empoli punched above their weight last season and he will now be aiming to surpass expectations at a bigger club looking to take further strides forward.
Fate has paired Roma with Spugna’s former side for the opening fixture, as both teams get their new eras underway.
Roma tested themselves well against several opponents of higher calibre in pre-season, so will be hoping to use those new experiences to their advantage as the new campaign begins.
Signings like Thaisa Moreno, Valeria Pirone, Lucia Di Guglielmo and Benedetta Glionna could make their competitive debuts, but the game comes too soon for the most recent arrival, Joyce Borini. Di Guglielmo and Glionna were Empoli players last season, so it could be a big occasion for them.
Roma will also be able to rely on the key players they retained from last season as they aim to build momentum from their cup win three months ago. One whose involvement is still up for question is Andressa Alves, who has returned to training but is still not at full fitness after a tiring Olympics schedule with Brazil over the summer.
Roma won their last meeting with Empoli in February, but lost the away fixture towards the start of last season. This time, they will be hoping to make a better initial impression.
If they can, it could provide the platform for an exciting season ahead.
The game kicks off at 4:30pm UK time.