The FA launches new women's coaching initiative

19 Feb 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

The FA has announced the launch of a new Coaching Excellence Initiative - an 18-month programme created to ‘develop and connect’ high performance coaches working in the elite women’s game. 

14 coaches have been selected for the inaugural programme, providing them with a bespoke, high-quality coach development experience underpinned by regular one-to-one support from a dedicated team of mentors. 

The coaches will receive individual and collective learning opportunities at regular workshops and interventions to support their individual and collective needs, unique to the experiences faced in women’s football. 

Delivered annually via group gatherings in high performance environments, peer mentoring and individual support, the programme aims to advance the coaching and leadership ability of a group of senior coaches working in the women’s elite game, including the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship and the England Women’s pathway.

The FA says the programme will become a mainstay of its commitment to its ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ strategy. 14 to 18 coaches – 75% of whom will be female – will be supported via the programme each season. 

“The Coaching Excellence Initiative is central to our commitment to see the top coaches in the women’s game become the very best they can, providing them with the development and learning opportunities to achieve their potential and fulfil their ambitions,” said Audrey Cooper, Head of Women’s Coach Development, The FA (pictured above).

“Living well beyond the 18-month course, it will provide the coaches with a support network to share their experiences as they continue in their career.  

“This programme will also support our broader ambition to normalise women in football coaching, shining a light each year on aspirational, relatable and credible female role models for future generations to be inspired by. Whether you are female or male, it’s my belief that there’s never been a more exciting time to be a coach in the women’s game.” 

Tanya Oxtoby, Coaching Excellence Initiative participant and Manager at Bristol City WFC, added: “I applied to The FA’s CEI programme to continue to develop myself as a manager, network with like minded people within the women’s game and to challenge my way of thinking. The programme has been extremely useful as its focused on skills and qualities which do not normally feature within technical coaching courses. It’s provided me with a network of support in very strange times and it’s changed the way I think about my way of working and how I can reach my own potential moving forward.”

The inaugural 18-month programme started in August 2020 and has so far seen the coaches receive formal learning opportunities through group events held online, as well as virtual small group meet-ups, peer to peer learning and sharing and one-to-one mentoring.