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Julie Chipchase Coaching Conference

On Saturday 2 July, coaches, mentors, players and loved ones gathered at West Riding FA to celebrate the life and coaching legacy of our dearly-missed friend and colleague, Julie Chipchase.

A dedicated and inspiring Coach Developer, Chippy spent 13-years at The FA following a successful career as a player and coach. Her impeccable attention to detail and constant willingness to help others improve enabled her to connect and build trust with so many people across the game.

Following her tragic passing in May last year, our W&G National Coach Development Lead Bex Garlick shared her personal memories of Chippy, as well some of the tributes from those closest to her, which you can read here.

The Julie Chipchase Coaching Conference, organised by Coach Development Officer Suey Smith and the team at West Riding FA, kicked off with a video message from UEFA Pro Licence coach Emma Coates speaking on the huge role Chippy played in her coaching journey, followed by a session with Milmoor Juniors U15s Girls, delivered by Wales National Women’s Team Manager Gemma Grainger.

Emma Hayes OBE, Chelsea Women’s Manager and FA Cup Winner, also joined the conference as a special guest speaker over lunch for a discussion and open Q&A with those in attendance.

There were sessions delivered on psychology in football by Sally Needham and practical sessions and discussions around the female game and the Women’s Euros hosted by FA coach development staff Kelsey Byrne and Pav Singh.

Finally, it was time for the current Doncaster Belles squad to face off against the Doncaster Belles legend in a charity match in Chippy’s memory, contested by her last team, with legends including Sue Smith and Leandra Little taking part.

The day, which was attended by Chippy’s family and children, served as a celebration of the amazing things Chippy achieved in the game, as well as encouraging coaches to improve and develop their knowledge, something which was incredibly important to the woman referred to as ‘The wise one’.

Speaking on the event, FA Coach Development Officer Suey Smith said: "The event was a huge success, and one I know Chippy would of been proud of. Over 100 coaches attended from all over the country to be part of the conference. There were two aims of the day; to continue Chippy’s legacy and secondly, to develop coaches. All the guest coaches from the day were fantastic and a huge thank you goes out to each and everyone of them."

"Same time next year - watch this space coaches."

Gemma Huskins, a coach who was present at the conference, summarised the importance of events like this and how they represent the female game, saying: "Seeing the excitement around women's football and coaching made me so emotional, from speaking to passionate females and males to just watching the female players get coached by females - I was overwhelmed with happiness!

"Someone once told me ‘if you can see it, you can be it’ and that summed up the whole day for me yesterday. I feel a new reignited passion to be present and to represent females in the game as a spectator, coach, mentor, friend, and beyond."

You can find a selection of some of the best photos from the day here: