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Palace for Life celebrate International Women’s Day

In the run up to International Women’s Day 2020, Palace for Life Foundation have been celebrating the recent successes of our female coaches and participants. Ranging from Walking Football international caps to our Girls Only Soccer Schools.

At Palace for life, we are lucky enough to work with some of the best female coaches in the game. All coming from a range of backgrounds and experiences, the foundation coaching staff have the skills and experience to breathe life into any session.

We wanted to get an insight into the coaching journey of some of our female coaches had been on, what motivated them and what they would say to someone thinking of starting coaching.

Palace for Life coach, Nicole, has been involved in football from a young age and naturally progressed into coaching. Speaking about her journey, she said: “My passion for football started when I was at secondary school. With the help of my PE teacher, I found a local girls football team to join and from there my love of football grew as a player and I naturally developed an interest in coaching. I successfully completed my FA level 1 when I was 16, which was a female only course with the Kent FA. I enjoy working with children and seeing them achieve their goals and developing as a player on the pitch and off the pitch. Also becoming a coach enabled me to become more confident and step out of my comfort zone which I wouldn’t have done before.”

The story is similar for so many of our coaches, starting in football sessions and developing into the current generation of coaches but these journeys don’t come without their own unique challenges. Raya, the Foundation Female Engagement Officer, admits her biggest challenge was “to face is my own confidence when it comes to coaching.”

For many of the coaches we spoke to, the early confidence to put across ideas was a challenge. However, “it can be challenging but is also very rewarding, especially as you watch the players succeed.”, as Nicole says.

The sense of fulfilment that the coaches felt is clearly what inspires them. Niamh, who is a sessional coach, spoke about what inspires her as a coach, saying: “When players say thank you for teaching them a new skill they haven’t tried before, or for your time delivering a session or even saying things like ‘Your session has made their day.’ and ‘Thank you for making time to come and watch our match’. Their appreciation and the smile on their faces from seeing them enjoy sport is really inspiring.”

Mia, who coaches a variety of sessions within the foundation, spoke about what inspires her, saying: “I feel inspired when I see the players having fun and enjoying themselves. I also feel inspired when I see how many young girls have started to enjoy playing football, as this wasn’t always the case when I was younger.” The change that Mia has seen in the number of girls attending sessions is incredibly important, given both the history of women’s football in England and the recent growth in the professional women’s game globally. The importance, to Palace for Life, of growing the women’s game is reflected in our work at Wildcats sessions, Girls Only Football Camps and more.

It is clear from what our coaches have said that more female coaches can only help grow the women’s game further, however, Mia put it most succinctly: “I would tell any females thinking about getting into coaching not be to be afraid of getting involved and grab every opportunity that arises. It is a very rewarding job and you could help to inspire the next generation of girls.”

Find out more about the Women’s and Girls football we offer here.

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